Man given life sentence for brutal murder of Leanne Unsworth in Burnley

A man has today been given a life sentence for killing a Burnley grandmother in an unprovoked brutal and frenzied assault.

Monday, 2nd December 2019, 2:54 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd December 2019, 2:57 pm

Shaun Sanders struck Leanne Unsworth multiple times about the head with a hammer, fracturing her skull and damaging her brain in the attack of the ‘utmost ferocity’ Preston Crown Court heard.

Ms Unsworth, 40, (pictured) was found dead at her home address on Marlborough Street in Burnley at around 7:15pm on Monday, January 14.

A post-mortem examination revealed the cause of her death as head injuries.

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Sanders was sentenced to a life sentence with a minimum term of 4 years and 48 days. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Sanders, 40, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility earlier this year.

The plea was accepted by the Crown following consideration of comprehensive psychiatric evidence.

It was agreed that at the time of the attack Sanders was suffering a psychotic episode as he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Temporary Det Chief Insp Zoe Russo, of the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “The plea of manslaughter was only accepted after careful consideration of comprehensive psychiatric evidence and it’s clear that at the time of the attack Sanders was suffering a psychotic episode.

Leanne Unsworth. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

"He cannot be released until the Parole Board is convinced that he is no longer a risk to the public.

“I would like to thank Leanne’s family for the dignity with which they have conducted themselves throughout these proceedings. I would also like to thank the community in Burnley for their co-operation and support. I know Leanne’s death had a huge impact on all those who knew and loved her.”

He was sentenced today (Monday, December 2nd) to a life sentence with a minimum term of four years 48days, although the trial judge said there was a possibility he would never be released.

Sanders was also given a Hospital Order which means he will start his sentence at Ashworth high security psychiatric hospital and will remain there until he is deemed fit to be transferred to prison to continue his sentence.