A Liverpool man who strangled the mother of his new-born child to death in a drink-fuelled rage has been jailed for life.

Mark Mahoney, 31, subjected care assistant Vikki Hull to a violent attack after the pair spent the night at their local pub in April.

He left the mother of his baby daughter, Rosie Leigh, for dead on the sofa and wandered the streets for hours sending messages and visiting friends, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Judge Alan Conrad sentenced Mahoney, who had pleaded guilty, to life with a minimum of 15 years and 219 days behind bars.

The judge said: "Only six-and-a-half weeks earlier she had given birth to a baby girl, Rosie Leigh.

"Vikki will never see her daughter grow up, and Rosie Leigh will never know her mother."

Mahoney had spent Saturday 8 April with Vikki, 29, and her father, Jack Hull, enjoying a barbecue at Mr Hull's Heaton Close home, to the south of Liverpool, where they all lived. The trio then spent the evening at a nearby pub.

Jack Hull went upstairs to sleep after they returned from the pub, while Mahoney and Vikki lay on the sofa.

Mahoney later told the police that an argument broke out because Vikki had said she did not want his family to have anything to do with raising the baby, which had upset him.

As the row became heated he said the care assistant grabbed his jaw.

He said: "I've pushed her off, off my jaw and then she's come at me again and I've just reacted with no intention of doing that. Basically, I grabbed her around the throat to scare her. She just stopped breathing".

Bruising around the neck

Doctors who later examined Mahoney, who has two previous convictions for attacks on different women, could find no evidence that he had been attacked.

Prosecuting David McLachlan QC said: "It is the prosecution case that sometime after midnight Mark Mahoney violently assaulted Vikki Hull. Why the assault occurred we may never know.

"He put his hands around her throat to strangle her and her clothing was tightened around her neck acting as a ligature.

"The consequences of his actions were obvious. And what did he do once the deadly deed was done? He left her there on the couch where she was discovered by her father at around 3am."

Mr Hull told the court he was unable to wake his daughter when he found her and saw marks on both sides of her neck.

Paramedics arrived within minutes to find Vikki's head and face were dark blue and red and that she had bruising around her neck area.

She proved unresponsive to treatment at the scene and was taken to Whiston hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Pathologist Dr Alison Armour told the jury Vikki had suffered a "violent assault" in which she was strangled, adding the alcohol she had consumed would have limited her ability to fight back.

After the attack Mahoney left the scene of the assault and wandered the streets texting friends and trying to work out what to do next. He slept for a night in the spare room of a friend's house, but when he returned the following day he was arrested.