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'Callous' partner jailed for life for killing grandmother with dog lead in her flat

A "mean and callous" man who strangled his disabled partner with a dog lead at her Black Country home has been jailed for life.

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Sara Bateman was found dead in in her flat in Willenhall

Vulnerable grandmother Sara Bateman, who had one leg and was a wheelchair user, was found in her flat in Moseley Court, off Willenhall Road, in Willenhall by her devastated son on March 30 this year.

Her killer, Matthew Hyde, 41, of Wellington Place, in Fibbersley, Willenhall, pleaded guilty to murdering her at Wolverhampton Crown Court earlier this year.

Judge Michael Chambers KC said: "I accept that you are remorseful and regret what you did, but by any view this was a mean and callous murder of someone who looked upon you for protection as her carer and as she was vulnerable.

"Aggravating factors are that you you deliberately and intentionally killed her with a dog lead. You left her for dead, not summoning the emergency services and it was a couple of days before she was found. It was a traumatic experience for her son to find her.

"This was a murder in a domestic context which is also an aggravating factor. Sara was aged 50, a relatively young age, and had addiction and personal problems. Despite these issues she was a loving mother and sister and doubtlessly a friend to many.

"They found your relationship worrying. You were in a relationship with her for 18 months. Like you she was addicted to drugs and alcohol to such an extent that her left leg was amputated, she had cellulitis and she was in a wheelchair. You were her regular carer and you received an allowance."

Killer: Matthew Hyde

The judge also said it was an aggravating feature that Ms Bateman was "particularly vulnerable" and that Hyde's actions fell into the category of "violation of trust".

He said psychiatric reports found that Hyde suffered from mild depression, but this was no reason for him to have attacked Ms Bateman.

"You had the courage to plead guilty to the murder after the case was adjourned for preparation of a psychiatric report," the judge said.

"Your case falls within the exception of the Sentencing Council's guidelines that is appropriate that you should get full credit."

In his police interview Hyde said he had been under the influence of lager, heroin and crack cocaine at the time of the murder and that Ms Bateman had said some words to him shortly before he killed her.

Shortly after the murder he withdrew £250 using her bank cards at a petrol station near the scene.

Hyde, was jailed for a minimum of 16 years and seven days, taking into account 236 days already spent in custody since his arrest on March 31. Two fraud charges relating to the bank cards were allowed to lie on file.

The court had heard that West Midlands Police detectives were soon able to track down Hyde after the murder and arrested him on March 31.

In a tribute, Ms Bateman's family said: “There are no words to describe the pain we are feeling at this moment in time. She will be forever in our hearts and dearly missed by us all.”

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