Killer tried to hide vital clues

A man has been jailed for life for strangling his ex-partner to death at her West Bromwich home.

Leroy Sterling, of Guns Lane in West Bromwich, was charged with murdering Wendy Mann in her Chapel Street flat in August 2015.

Following a two week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court a jury returned their verdict today (24 January) finding him guilty.

Wendy’s body was discovered at the address by concerned relatives who could not get hold of her on 28 August 2015. Emergency services were called to the flat but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

A forensic post-mortem found that she had been strangled and police launched a major investigation to find her killer.

Sterling was identified as Wendy’s ex-partner and was initially interviewed as a witness. In further police interviews he denied being involved in her death, claiming he had not been to her apartment for months and pointed the finger at others.

As the investigation progressed the 63-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murder on Friday 13 November 2015.

The court heard how Sterling had strangled Wendy in a fit of jealous rage.

He tried to conceal his crime by thoroughly scrubbing her apartment clean, but he had stepped on a mopped floor and his dried footprints ultimately led to his downfall.

Detective Inspector Martin Slevin who led the investigation said “Wendy Mann was a loving mother to three children whose live was cruelly ended by the father of those children, Leroy Sterling. Despite them not being in a continuing personal relationship or living together, Sterling upon finding out that Wendy was having a relationship with another man visited her flat.

“No one, but Sterling, knows exactly what subsequently took place but what did follow was obviously a vicious attack upon Wendy by Sterling that ended her life. This was no doubt driven by a jealous rage at Wendy’s new relationship.

“Sterling tried to remove all evidence of his presence from the scene by thoroughly cleaning the house but in his haste to leave left a plastic beaker with his DNA on the kitchen counter. His efforts to avoid suspicion almost worked.

“However, painstaking forensic examination and CCTV viewing placed Sterling at the scene at the time Wendy must have met her death. The jury upon listening to all of the evidence presented have reached the correct decision.

“We hope that today’s verdict in some way brings closure to Wendy’s family but recognise that painfully her children will grow up knowing that their father ended their mother life.”

The family of Wendy have said: “It has been a long process getting justice for Wendy. We are happy with the verdict today and hope that it will bring a sense of closure to our lives.

“The verdict wil not bring Wendy back, but it gives us some comfort that someone has faced justice for this terrible act and her memory honoured.

“We would like to thank the police for all their efforts and support and hope that we can now move foward with our lives.”

Sterling was sentenced to life and will serve at least 21 years. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of a 53-year-old man and was jailed for six years which will run concurrently.

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