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Life sentence for Wirral builder who strangled partner
12:15pm Tuesday 11th September 2012 in News
A BUILDER who drunkenly strangled and smothered his partner following the breakdown of their relationship was this week beginning a life sentence.
Irishman Cathal Comerford had been on a “mission to get drunk” on the fateful night and after they agreed to split up Sarah Williams allegedly goaded him and he launched the fatal attack.
"I am satisfied that you knew Miss Williams was dead as soon as you had strangled and smothered her but nevertheless you went to sleep in the same flat and did nothing about calling the emergency services until the following day," said Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, Recorder of Liverpool.
He told 41-year-old Comerford he accepted his intention to kill was short-lived and soon regretted what he had done but that had not stopped him immediately falling asleep.
"On the night that you killed Sarah Williams you and she had agreed that your relationship was at an end," said the judge.
"You rowed and blows were struck. A blow which you struck her was of sufficient force to cause a black eye and swollen cheek and it culminated in you strangling and smothering her while she was on the bed."
Liverpool Crown Court had heard that Comerford told police that 40-year-old Miss Williams, with whom he was in business as well as in a personal relationship for five years, had goaded him by saying she was going to start seeing other men.
But the judge pointed out that once the couple, who met via an internet dating site, had agreed to go their separate ways "you no longer had any claims against her fidelity."
Imposing a life sentence, with a minimum term of ten years ten months before he can apply for parole, Judge Goldstone said he accepted his unreserved and genuine remorse.
"But whatever your remorse, shame and self-loathing it will be of little comfort to the family and friends of Sarah Williams.
"Her loss leaves an irreplaceable void in the hearts and minds of those to whom she was close and dear, people of all ages and generations and all walks of life. Their's is a life sentence, it will continue long after the time will come when consideration will be given to your release."
Comerford had pleaded guilty to murdering Miss Williams at their flat in St James Road, New Brighton, home on April 15 of this year.
The court heard that they had a stormy relationship punctuated by rows and sometimes violence from both sides inflamed by heavy drinking.
Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, said by last year they had financial problems as the business was losing money.
Comerford believed Miss Williams wasn’t “pulling her weight” in the business and she thought Comerford, a father-of-two, was not trying hard enough to get a divorce.
On the day of the murder Comerford bought a crate of beer and a bottle of vodka “on a mission to get drunk.”
He later told police Miss Williams was goading him, so he attacked her.
In a statment to the court, the victim's mother, Susan Smith, said: “For a mother to lose a child under any circumstances is horrific but to have your daughter taken in such violent and needless way is beyond comprehension.
“The struggle to come to terms with it is very hard. Our whole family is heartbroken, stunned and in shock.”
Defence QC Neil Flewitt said Comerford had not realised he had killed Miss Williams and that had pleaded guilty immediately in order to speed the legal process for her family.
He added. “He is conscious they let him into their family, supported him in business and he has let them down in the most awful way.”