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Husband who dismembered 'childhood sweetheart' wife of 24 years gets life for murder

Ross McGuinness
·4-min read
Thomas McCann, left, has been jailed for life for the murder of his wife of 24 years, Yvonne McCann, right. (Greater Manchester Police/PA)
Thomas McCann, left, has been jailed for life for the murder of his wife of 24 years, Yvonne McCann, right. (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

An estranged husband who strangled his "childhood sweetheart" wife of 24 years and dumped her dismembered body in a country park and council tip has been jailed for life.

Thomas McCann, 49, killed his wife Yvonne, 46, in the bathroom of their home after a row about frozen chips, Manchester Crown Court heard.

McCann was jailed for life on Tuesday for her murder, with a minimum term of 13 years and four months before parole.

He used a Stanley knife and a tree lopper to cut up her body and sent text messages to their children pretending their mother was still alive, the court heard.

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The truck driver later told police he was “Hannibal Lecter” and admitted: “I killed my wife and disposed of her like garbage.” He said he had “lost control and could not stop”.

Passing sentence on Tuesday, Judge Alan Conrad QC told the defendant: “Your actions after the killing amount to serious aggravating factors.

“The defence suggest a combination of self-interest and panic, but what you did makes a terrible case even more horrific and even more upsetting to those concerned.

Thomas McCann, pictured, has been jailed for life for the murder of his wife, Yvonne McCann. (Greater Manchester Police)
Thomas McCann, pictured, has been jailed for life for the murder of his wife, Yvonne McCann. (Greater Manchester Police)
Undated handout photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of mother of four Yvonne McCann, who was found dead in Reddish Vale Country Park in Stockport on May 25, as her children have said she was
Yvonne McCann was murdered by her husband, Thomas McCann, who disposed of her remains in a country park. (PA)

“Yvonne McCann was a woman with a great deal to live for and a great deal to look forward to when her life was so cruelly cut short by you.”

The court heard the couple had met as teenagers, been together for 32 years and had four children.

McCann attacked his wife on 23 May 2020 – the Saturday morning of the spring bank holiday. She began seeing another man in about 2013, leading to her husband’s jealousy, the court heard.

Andrew Smith, prosecuting, said: “Seemingly, the trigger was some used frozen chips.

“During that argument it is now clear that the defendant attacked Yvonne, strangled her to death in the bathroom and thereafter he dismembered her body in the bath.”

Parts of Mrs McCann’s body were found by dog walkers in Reddish Vale Country Park, Stockport, on the bank holiday Monday.

Police discovered two bags, then four more in another part of the park half a mile away.

The court heard the last proof of life was a text message from Mrs McCann replying to a neighbour inquiring if she was okay after hearing an argument coming from the property on Rosslave Walk, Brinnington, Stockport, on the Saturday morning of 23 May 2020.

Mrs McCann’s text said they had been rowing over a bag of frozen chips.

Manchester Crown Court (Crown Square) in central Manchester.
The case was heard at Manchester Crown Court. (PA)

McCann was seen on CCTV leaving the house to collect items from his work’s tipper truck.

Between 10.40am and 3.42pm there was no sighting of him, and the prosecution suggested that during that time he was dismembering his wife’s body.

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During that same period, he used his wife’s phone and his own to reply to texts from their children, claiming Mrs McCann had walked out after they had a row.

He was later spotted on CCTV carrying bin bags to his car and bringing bags towards the country park.

Later, he was seen throwing eight plastic bags into a skip at Bredbury Recycling Centre. Only half of Mrs McCann’s remains have been recovered.

Undated handout photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of mother of four Yvonne McCann, who was found dead in Reddish Vale Country Park in Stockport on May 25, as her children have said she was
Mother-of-four Yvonne McCann, pictured, who was murdered by her estranged husband last year. (PA)

McCann initially claimed to have last seen his wife after dropping her off near the home of her new partner.

Shortly after, he was found to have scratches to his cheek, arms and hands and was arrested.

In a victim impact statement from Mrs McCann’s children, Rachel Lawson, her daughter, said: “We are all really struggling with this. We love our mum very much, we also love our dad.”

Louise Blackwell QC, mitigating, said McCann had not planned the killing and there was no history of violence, but the row “blew up” over something that was a “small domestic detail”.