A man who choked his lover to death and then texted her young son pretending she was still alive has been jailed for six years.
David Anderson snapped after a row because Louise O’Brien had wanted to make some food, the High Court in Glasgow heard yesterday.
The 36 year-old was discovered dead on a bed at their flat in Perth with a heart shaped chocolate beside her.
Anderson, who had faced a murder allegation, returned to the High Court after admitting to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.
Lord Boyd said Anderson was “clearly in love” with Ms O’Brien and that only he knew “what exactly happened” between the couple that night.
The judge added he found it “chilling” Anderson used his dead partner’s phone to message her son after the attack.
The couple were together for around a year before the killing. They had fall-outs, but Anderson was described by one person as the “best boyfriend” Ms O’Brien had met.
However, call centre worker Anderson later told a colleague he was going to leave her and move to Dundee.
Prosecutor Bernard Ablett said the exact date of the killing was not known.
Former bar worker Ms O’Brien was last seen alive on 24 April this year. Her body was found four days later.
During that time, Anderson called in sick to work claiming he had an upset stomach. He was described as “sounding lost” and not his usual “chirpy self”.
He made a series of internet searches including: “If you are accused of murder, are you automatically put in prison?”
It was on 28 April Anderson then contacted his mother to tell her: “I’ve done something terrible and I’ve been unable to deal with it mentally for days.
“I tried to hurt myself because I could not deal with it. I don’t want to tell you, but it’ll come out anyway. I have broken the law. It is very serious.”
Police were alerted and officers went on to discover Ms O’Brien’s body in a bedroom.
Ms O’Brien’s mobile phone was later checked and a number of messages to her son were found.
The advocate depute said: “It is suspected that Anderson was responsible for sending these texts to give the appearance that Louise was still alive.”
The court was told the exact cause of death was “less clear”, but she had injuries consistent with “manual strangulation”.
Lord Boyd said the jail-term would have been nine years, but for the guilty plea.