A jilted lover who was released on bail by a judge despite vowing to kill his terrified partner was jailed for life today for her murder.
Alan Entwistle, 52, stalked mother-of-two Claire Atkinson, 31, as she walked home from work before he coaxed her into his car and stabbed her 13 times in the heart and chest in the passenger seat.
He then drove on with her lifeless body as he ploughed his vehicle into the back of another in an apparent suicide attempt.
Preston Crown Court was told that Entwistle had been charged with kidnapping Miss Atkinson and threatening her with a knife just a month earlier.
The terrified shop worker told detectives that her former partner of four years had vowed to kill her, telling her: "If I cannot have you then no one else can."
Entwistle was charged and remanded in custody by local magistrates the following day.
But he was released on bail five days later following an application to a crown court judge.
Miss Atkinson was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash in Thornton Cleveleys on April 17 this year.
Ex-bouncer Entwistle, of Custom House Lane, Fleetwood was arrested shortly afterwards but declined to comment under interview.
Following his guilty plea to murder today, Judge Anthony Russell QC branded the defendant a "manipulative man" and sentenced him to a minimum of 21 and a half years in prison.
The judge said: "This was a chilling murder carried out mercilessly for your own selfish and self-centred reasons.
"You persistently stalked her and you told a number of people you would kill her.
"Your conduct beggars belief.
"You are clearly a manipulative man who seeks to manipulate people."
Entwistle, who was said to have expressed no remorse over the killing, said "sorry" towards the public gallery where members of Miss Atkinson's family were sitting just before he was led from the dock.
The victim's relatives left court without making comment.
Speaking outside court of the decision to release the defendant on bail, Detective Inspector Phil Burke, of Lancashire Police, said: "Our role is to gather evidence to put before the courts. We did nothing wrong at all.
"The court considers the facts and then make the decisions. It is not for me to comment whether that was right or wrong."
He added: "The family are in shock. It's been an emotional day for them but they are very satisfied with the sentence but it does not bring back Claire."Reuse content