Groom-to-be jailed for life for trying to murder fiancée and burying her alive in shallow grave
A thug who strangled his fiancée and then buried her alive underneath twigs and leaves has been jailed for life .
Stacey Gwilliam, 34, woke up to find herself in a shallow grave dug out by lover Keith Hughes who had left her there to die.
Painter and decorator Hughes, 39, tried to "snap" Stacey Gwilliam's neck and then hide her body under bushes as he fled the coastal path where the couple had been walking.
Judge Paul Thomas QC, sentencing painter and decorator Keith Hughes, 39, at Swansea Crown Court said because of his “volcanic temper” it would be a long time before Hughes was freed.
He recommended Hughes, who was convicted by a jury on Tuesday, serve eight-and-a-half years before he can apply for release, reports Wales Online .
Ms Gwilliam, from Swansea, had to spend 26 days in hospital, 14 of them in an induced coma and she still has difficulty eating and speaking.
The attacks were so serous they left her walking with a stick.
Judge Thomas said Hughes lost all control when he attacked Ms Gwilliam and had attempted to break her neck by twisting it violently.
When police arrested Hughes he told them: “You’ll never find her” but was shocked to be told: “She’s alive”.
Hughes, once imprisoned for repeatedly hitting a man with a brick, had been jailed in 2013 for three years and nine months for three separate assaults on Ms Gwilliam and one of false imprisonment.
But Hughes claimed while he was in prison Ms Gwilliam wrote to him and after his release they resumed their relationship and in July, 2015, she agreed to marry him.
Judge Thomas said: “She no doubt now regrets that decision very much.”
The court heard Hughes, of Hollett Road, Treboeth, Swansea, met Ms Gwilliam in Swansea shortly before the attack in July and found she was attempting to sell their engagement ring.
Enraged Hughes persuaded Ms Gwilliam to walk with him on the coastal path at Langland Bay, Swansea and it was then his temper boiled over after they began arguing over their split.
The 6’ 2” Hughes placed slightly built Ms Gwilliam’s head in the crook of his arm and began squeezing tightly then turned her round to strangle her face on.
Judge Thomas said: “I believe the reason you turned her round and you strangled her face to face was because it enabled you to see at first hand her terror and pain at the closest possible distance.
“This was a sustained and ferocious attempt to end the life of a vulnerable woman in an isolated location.”
He told Hughes, dressed in a dark suit, he was a danger to society and in particular a danger to any woman he had a relationship with.
After the attack, Hughes drove off in Ms Gwilliam’s car, crashing it after drinking vodka, and said Judge Thomas, “made a final gesture of contempt to Ms Gwilliam” by pretending it was her who crashed the car.
Hughes said he had never intended to resume his relationship with Ms Gwilliam and had asked her to marry him only “to make her happy.”