A man has been jailed for hiding the body of his dead partner in a boiler cupboard for more than a year.
Andrew Reade was sentenced to four years and four months in prison for concealing Preston mum Victoria Cherry’s body at a home they shared in Bolton.
The Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Timothy Clayson, handed down the sentence for preventing a lawful and decent burial and preventing the course of public justice at Bolton Crown Court yesterday.
Officers launched a murder investigation in January this year after the 44-year-old former Fulwood High School pupil had not been seen for more than a year.
Her family had become concerned after she abruptly stopped contacting them.
Reade told people he and Vicky had split up and she had moved to Blackburn but enquiries discovered her employment support allowance was still being withdrawn in the Bolton area.
This and other inconsistencies in his story led to officers launching a murder investigation and subsequently executing a warrant at Reade’s house.
He was arrested on suspicion of her murder and, during a search of the house, officers discovered Vicky’s body at the property in Toronto Street, Breightmet. Further enquiries established she had been concealed in the house for more than a year.
Reade denied murder but admitted he hid Vicky’s body after she died and had lied to her family and police about her whereabouts.
He also admitted to taking her benefits for several months after her death.
A Home Office Post Mortem concluded the cause of Ms Cherry’s death could not be established.
The pathologist was also unable to say how injuries to her nose, cheekbone and larynx had been sustained due to the decomposition of her body.
Speaking after the sentencing, Vicky’s family said: “We as a family are heartbroken. No matter what sentence Reade would have been given it will never bring Vicky back. He stopped us for 18 months being able to have her funeral from the day she died.
“No one was able to say goodbye to her properly as we couldn’t view her body and had to say goodbye to a coffin because she decomposed so much. They couldn’t even give us a lock of hair.
“Despite the sentence today we will never get over this and will live with this heartache for the rest of our lives.”
Detective Chief Inspector Terry Crompton of GMP’s Major Incident Team said: “(The family) have not only lost a daughter, mother, sister and friend, but been put through a tremendous amount of heartache.”