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Man hid body of dead girlfriend in airing cupboard for over a year

Andrew Reade
Andrew Reade

A man who hid the body of his dead girlfriend in the airing cupboard of their flat for more than a year has been jailed for four years and four months.

Andrew Reade, 43, wrapped the body of Vicky Cherry, 44, in a duvet and plastic sheeting after her death in October 2015 and then concealed it at their address in Bolton, Greater Manchester, by placing other items on top.

The corpse remained secret until police made the grim discovery when they searched the first-floor flat in Toronto Street in January this year after her family filed a missing person report three months earlier.

Miss Cherry's cause of death could not be ascertained because of the heavy decomposition but a pathologist concluded she may have died as a result of strangulation as injuries to her neck were detected.

When arrested on suspicion of murder, Reade claimed he panicked after he woke to find his girlfriend dead after they had previously taken a cocktail of illicit drugs.

Sentencing him at Bolton Crown Court, Judge Timothy Clayson said the defendant could not be held responsible for the death but his behaviour that followed was "inexcusable".

Reade went on "a mission of deceit" as he told lie after lie to Miss Cherry's family and also to police officers who twice visited the flat in November 2016.

He told them that Miss Cherry had left him to live in Blackburn with another man, the court heard.

Reade gave different accounts to others in the weeks after Miss Cherry's death when he told a mutual friend she was in hospital and falsely claimed to a pharmacist that she had moved in with her mother and even secured a job at a care home.

The defendant also cashed in employment benefits, totalling up to £1,000, sent to Miss Cherry in the three months after her death.

Judge Clayson told him that his conduct had prolonged her family's ordeal.

He said: "Your behaviour towards the body of Vicky Cherry and her family was callous, calculated and above all selfish."

Reade pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to preventing a lawful and decent burial and also doing acts intended to pervert the course of justice.