A WREXHAM man who strangled his fiancee to death and ate a sandwich next to her body before calling 999 has been given a life sentence.

Madog Rowlands, aged 23 and of Coed Efa in New Broughton, denied murdering 21-year-old Lauren Griffiths, from Oswestry.

The jury heard that after strangling her to death Rowlands had ordered drugs and fast food, as well as attempting to set up a Netflix account, before calling the emergency services more than a full day later.

He was unanimously convicted of murder at Newport Crown Court in December and appeared at Cardiff Crown Court for sentencing on Friday.

Summarising the facts of the case, Judge Daniel Williams told Rowlands: "You met when you were 18 and Lauren was 17.

"To escape memories of her traumatic childhood, Lauren developed a dissociative disorder which made her terribly vulnerable.

"In 2017 you moved together from Wrexham to Cardiff, where you went to university. "You suggested to Lauren some time before March 7, 2018, that the two of you should make a suicide pact. "I'm satisfied you persuaded and pressurised her and made a pact which you told her would end your financial worries and bring to an end her painful battle with mental illness, but Lauren changed her mind.

"She saw a brighter future. This led to an argument on March 7, 2018, and led to you assaulting her.

"You grabbed her throat and threatened to kill her. She managed to get away and find help. "Lauren forgave you. You soon got back together and for a time your relationship rekindled."

Judge Williams said by 2019, the two were in debt and both fell into a low mood.

"Your thought of killing Lauren resurfaced," he said.

"I am sure you had thoughts of murdering Lauren for a long time - well over a year before you did.

"The two of you went to bed in the early hours of April 29. "I reject entirely your account of how Lauren died. You strangled her to death, intending to kill her.

"You then put a ligature around your throat and on your account, tried to take your life.

"What you did for the next 35 hours defied belief.

"You ordered drugs to the flat, paid for with cash from your account and Lauren's. "After they were delivered you ordered a sandwich, which you ate in the bedroom sitting on the mattress next to Lauren's body. "You took drugs and drank whiskey, and wrapped her body in cling film and bin bags. "You had thoughts of getting her out of the flat, but you abandoned them. "You then rang 999 and claimed in that chilling call that your actions had been in self defence - a lie you persisted in at trial. "The jury saw right through that claim."

He said Rowlands' attempts to show remorse while giving evidence had been "feeble" and were followed quickly by talking about his 'all-consuming interest'; himself.

"Lauren had a terribly tough start in life," the Judge said.

"She was kind natured, couldn't do enough for others. She was described as a lovely, friendly, sweet and bubbly young woman and she is missed every day by those closest to her."

Handing down his sentence, Judge Williams said: "The only sentence is one of imprisonment for life.

"The minimum term you will have to serve in custody before you can apply to the parole board is 18 years."

Rowlands has already served 485 days in custody, which will be deducted from the minimum term.

Judge Williams said if at a future date after the minimum term a parole board allowed his release, he would remain on license for the rest of his life and could be recalled.

In a statement read to the court, Ms Griffiths' mum Alison Turner said: "As a family, we have lost a precious daughter and sister.

"She is missed every day. "Our family will never be able to understand why this happened.

"It is extremely difficult to put into words."

In a statement, her father Jason Griffiths said: "On April 30, my life changed forever.

"I have heard things no parent should have to hear.

"One of the things I miss so much is how she greeted you with an almost musical hiya."