The “cruel” killer of a much-loved midwife comforted his victim’s sister hours after burying her sibling’s body in a shallow grave.
Michael Stirling admitted murdering lover Samantha Eastwood, with whom he had been having a three-year affair, after suffocating and strangling the 28-year-old at her home.
Stirling, 32, was the brother-in-law of the health worker’s ex-fiance, and was well-known by her immediate family.
His proximity to the family and the way he attempted to deceive both them and detectives saw police liken him to child killer Ian Huntley.
Miss Eastwood, who worked at Royal Stoke University Hospital, was reported missing by colleagues after finishing a night shift on 27 July.
Her body was found eight days later by police searching an overgrown former quarry at Caverswall, her eyes and face covered in tape.
Stirling was jailed for life at Stafford Crown Court yesterday. The detective who led the investigation into her murder described the killer as “cold”, “callous” and remorseless.
Detective Inspector Dan Ison said Stirling had disposed of the body of the woman “like an animal”, amid trees and undergrowth, off a lane. He added: “It is my opinion that he is a cruel man. Arrogant and callous.”