The grieving family of North East woman Pamela Jackson broke down in tears as her killer was convicted of manslaughter.
Adrian Muir killed the 51-year-old mother and grandmother, then buried her body on moorland near Halifax, West Yorkshire – after transporting her body more than 120 miles from her home in Chester-le-Street, County Durham.
There he deposited the 55-year-old’s body, along with a bunch of flowers in a Tesco carrier bag, before making a series of taped confessions about what he had done and joining her desperate family who were searching for her.
Muir was arrested and charged with murder just days after the grandmother and mum-of-three was reported missing.
It took detectives two months to find the grave. Mrs Jackson had died as a result of head injuries caused by at least four blows.
During the trial at Newcastle Crown Court, Muir denied murder and claimed he had been framed by the “real killer”.
His denials were despite the fact his telephone and car were traced travelling from Mrs Jackson’s home to her grave site on the last day her family saw her alive, his fingerprint being found on the carrier bag inside her grave, soil from the burial plot being found in his car and a pool of Mrs Jackson’s blood being found under the back seat of his car.
After two days’ deliberation, a jury found him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter yesterday.
Mrs Jackson’s grieving family endured days in court facing the torment of their mum’s killer denying what he had done.
Her sister, Deborah Leighton, 51, said: “The trial is over, but this is not over for us. This is just the start. We are now facing a lot of ‘firsts’ without her – family gatherings and the prospect of Christmas with her not here.”
Jurors had heard during the trial how Muir left his partner of 32 years after he met Mrs Jackson on a dating website, Fling.com.
The court heard Mrs Jackson moved Muir into her home shortly after they met, but their relationship had deteriorated rapidly in the weeks before her death.
Muir has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced at a later date.