A MAN beat his partner to death as their children slept upstairs, it has been claimed in court.

Brian Buckley denies murdering Leah Ingham after she told him she was leaving him.

Mold Crown Court also heard claims Buckley, 41, sent a text message to her new boyfriend on the night of the killing, posing as Miss Ingham.

Buckley was said to have been possessive, jealous and sometimes violent towards his partner Leah Ingham, who at 25 was 16 years his junior.

Her badly injured body was found at her home in Montgomery Road, Wrexham, in February.

Opening the case, Simon Medland, prosecuting, told the jury it was a significant feature of the case that in the hours before he allegedly murdered her, they argued about drugs and a new relationship which Miss Ingham was beginning to establish with a man named Timothy Davies.

That day, February 7, Miss Ingham and the two children had been at her mother Heather’s home for Sunday lunch.

Reassured by what appeared to be the peaceful and civilised way in which the relationship between her daughter and Buckley was coming to an end, she was happy to drop her and the children off at about 7.45pm.

Mr Medland said: “It was sadly, the last time that she was to see her daughter alive.”

The children had been put to bed and Mr Medland said that as there were only two adults in the house and one of them had been killed, the precise chain of events leading to the murder may never be entirely clear.

He said: “Again and again he punched her, he throttled her, he kicked her, he inflicted significant blunt-force trauma on her.

“While she lay dying he took a child’s umbrella and pushed it forcibly into her causing significant injury and bleeding.”

The assault appeared to have been complete by 25 minutes to 11 because that was when Buckley sent a text message to Martyn Rhys Jones, a colleague at TDG in Wrexham, saying he would not be in work in the morning.

He texted: “I’m goin jail n e way mate.”

The court was told about 10 minutes later he sent another saying “just killed Leah”.

Mr Jones was very worried. He went to the address to find what had gone on and saw Miss Ingham covered in blood.

The jury was told both Buckley and Miss Ingham had problems with drugs.

After discovering the body, Mr Jones raised the alarm through his mother and stepfather although Buckley himself called 999 and said: “We had a fight... I think I strangled her... I think it happened about two hours ago.”

Police arrived at 1.05am and saw Miss Ingham lying dead in the living room.

The trial before Judge Merfyn Hughes QC is proceeding.