Jail for man who buried wife in garden

A KILLER who buried his wife in a shallow grave in his back garden has been jailed for 11 years.

Thomas Flanagan, 57, strangled his wife Elaine, then put her body in a ditch where they had attempted to dig out a fish pond.

He then carried on his life as normal for a month until a friend asked why he had not seen his wife, 57, lately, and he replied, “I’ve killed her.”

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Police called to the house on Wigan Road in Leigh, Greater Manchester, got no reply, went round to the back garden and found Mrs Flanagan’s body, badly decomposed, lying in the shallow ditch covered with twigs and leaves.

Her husband pleaded guilty yesterday to manslaughter on July 25 this year and was jailed for 11 years at Manchester Crown Court.

The court heard the couple, who lived an isolated life, had rowed about a credit card and Flanagan claimed his wife turned violent, slapping him. He claims he retaliated, grabbing her around the throat and pinning her up against the kitchen
wall before she crumpled to the floor.

Flanagan, instead of calling an ambulance began drinking vodka, leaving his dead wife on the kitchen floor. After a few days the body began to smell, so he dragged it outside to lay it in the fish pond ditch. He carried on life as normal for nearly four weeks, until on August 17 he was talking to a family friend when he confessed to the killing.

When Flanagan was arrested, he told an officer: “I’ve killed her. I strangled the woman. She got on my nerves and I strangled her.”