Man guilty of strangling girlfriend

A MAN who strangled his girlfriend to death in what was described as “a needless loss of life” has been given a life sentence after being found guilty of her murder.

A MAN who strangled his girlfriend to death in what was described as “a needless loss of life” has been given a life sentence after being found guilty of her murder.

Shaun Allen, 25, had denied murdering Tina Symes at their home in Colchester, but was found guilty by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday.

In sentencing Allen, Judge Christopher Ball QC said: “This was a tragic case for all those involved.”

Allen, a demolition worker from Romford, was told he would serve a minimum of 12 years in prison before being considered for parole.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Superintendent Tim Wills said: “I am pleased with today's verdict. Tina's death was a needless loss of life over a domestic argument.

“I hope the court's outcome brings some sort of justice to Tina's family and friends so that they can move on with their lives.”

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Earlier in the trial, Allen had admitted manslaughter but said that he had never intended to kill Ms Symes, 35, and that the mother of four had “backed him into a corner”.

Ms Symes was killed at about 3am on January 3 when a heated argument turned violent.

After killing his girlfriend, who he had only been living with for a matter of weeks, he left the flat in Tippett Close and later went to the pub.

He was collected by his father later in the afternoon and together they went to Colchester Police station, where he confessed to killing her.

The court heard that, when interviewed, Allen had told detectives: “It weren't supposed to happen, it was a violent relationship from the start.”

Allen had earlier told the court that he could not control himself after being put in such a position by his girlfriend.

He said: “I was wound up, I was pushed back into a corner where I had never been before.

“I had all these abusive comments coming at me, I had never been in that situation before and I couldn't control it.”

He added: “I think any reasonable man would have done what I did. I did not mean to kill her, I grabbed her by the throat to shut her up.”

The court had earlier heard that after strangling Ms Symes, Allen did not call for an ambulance or police.

Ms Symes was found at the flat lying on her back, with injuries to her jaw and a bruised arm. During the post-mortem examination her mobile phone was discovered tucked inside her bra.

Phone records revealed she had received a text message from a former boyfriend, which the prosecution claimed was “more than likely” to have been the cause of the argument.

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