The family of a missing mother of five have pleaded to her murderer to reveal her whereabouts so they can lay her to rest.
Alan Edwards, 48, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Susan Waring, 45, who disappeared at the end of January 2019.
The victim’s brother, Peter Waring, read out in court a victim personal statement on behalf of the family before Edwards was told he must serve a minimum of 27 years in jail before he can be considered for parole.
Edwards preyed on Miss Waring, who was blind in one eye, suffered poor health and had learning difficulties, during their brief two-month relationship.
He was constantly violent and abusive towards her as a search of his flat in Darwen, Lancashire, revealed evidence of blood throughout the premises which the defendant had redecorated in a bid to cover his tracks.
Among the items recovered was a rubber Halloween skull mask which had more than 100 blood spots and traces of Miss Waring’s DNA, with analysis indicating he wore it as he struck her at close proximity.
He was also found guilty of offences against four other women, including causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and making threats to kill.
They entered the witness box and said they too were subjected to violent and controlling behaviour from Edwards at various times dating back to the 1990s.
Describing his sister as “gentle” and a person “who would never hurt a fly”, Mr Waring told the court: “The last two years have simply been hell for us. A nightmare that has continued to cause us turmoil every day.
“Alan Edwards clearly manipulated Susan, preyed on her vulnerability and used her as a punchbag. This evil man has denied any wrongdoing and has told constant lies about his offending.”
In the days that followed, the defendant appealed via Facebook for Miss Waring to return or make contact but an examination of his mobile phone showed he was also visiting the hook-up website flirtymoms.com with “increasing regularity”.
Giving evidence, Edwards said he was “just browsing” and it was “something to pass the time, waiting for Susan”.
He claimed he last saw her on January 30 when she kissed him goodbye while he was half asleep in his flat and said he was still waiting for her to come back.
Sentencing, Mr Justice Goss told Edwards: “There is no doubt she was frightened of and dominated by you. Your possessive and controlling behaviour ended with you taking Susan Waring’s life.
“Precisely what you did and how is known only to you.”
Detective Chief Inspector Pauline Stables, of Lancashire Police, said: “I am glad we have been able to get justice for Susan’s family in terms of putting her killer behind bars but their suffering continues whilst her body remains missing and they cannot lay her to rest.
“Edwards continues to deny Susan’s murder and as such, is not revealing where he disposed of her body.
“If anyone thinks they know anything about where Susan may be, please contact us with any information, no matter how insignificant you think it may be.”