Craig O’Sullivan
Craig O’Sullivan will serve a minimum of 17 years for murdering Gemma Leeming Lancashire Police

A drug addict who strangled his girlfriend before scrawling "you can't have my brains" on her chest with her own blood has been jailed for life. Craig O'Sullivan, 40, of Chorley, admitted to the murder of 30-year-old Gemma Leeming when he appeared at Preston Crown Court.

Police discovered Leeming's body after they were called to an address in Hollinshead Street on the evening of 23 May. A 10p coin had been placed on her right eye and the words "no brain" had also been written on her face in mascara, along with the message on her chest written in blood.

Authorities suspect O'Sullivan left the body in such a bizarre state so police believe he was suffering a psychotic break-down at the time of the murder.

A post-mortem revealed the mother of two, who was also a known drug addict, died as a result of strangulation.

The court heard that O'Sullivan also attempted to cover the marks on Leeming's neck with make-up and bought new clothes the day after her murder in an attempt to get rid of the evidence against him.

Police also recovered a bag of clothing that he had tried to get rid of, including some of Leeming's blood-stained clothing.

O'Sullivan, described as a "vicious, manipulative and parasitic man", has now been sentenced to life with a minimum of 17 and a half years for murdering his partner in "the most sickening manner so that he could satisfy his addiction to Class A drugs".

Following his sentence, Lancashire Police detective inspector Paddy O'Neil said: "Witnesses told us that in the few weeks Gemma and O'Sullivan were together Gemma had been really happy.

"Other witnesses told us that at the same time O'Sullivan had openly told them that he was only with Gemma because she had a ready supply of controlled drugs. In the hours prior to Gemma's discovery, O'Sullivan spoke to a local officer and showed her a picture of someone other than Gemma, claiming that this lady was the love of his life.

"On the night of the murder we understand Gemma had been paid a sum of money in O'Sullivan's presence, and had also received a quantity of drugs that she was to sell on. Later that night we believe O'Sullivan strangled Gemma and stole the drugs and the money.

"He then went to considerable efforts to hide what he had done and to avoid detection. We believe he desecrated Gemma's body in an attempt to persuade those who may judge him in the future that he was suffering from some sort of psychotic break-down.

"Gemma's life story is indeed a sad one and it is clear she made some bad choices. However, she had two children and a wider family who loved her and who hoped one day for a reconciliation with her. O'Sullivan's actions have robbed them of that opportunity."