Man who led a double life murdered fiancée and hid her in suitcase

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The Independent Online

A womanising music teacher who led a double life while dating a string of different women was found guilty yesterday of murdering his fiancée as their young children played upstairs.

Andrew Lindo, 29, strangled, bludgeoned and stabbed to death Marie Stewart, 30, before stuffing her body into a suitcase in the garage of their home, in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

He then put their children in his car, went to collect his latest lover, Angela Rylance, and brought her home.

Miss Rylance unwittingly spent the night "cuddling" Lindo in the bedroom where the murder took place, two floors above the garage where he had stashed his fiancée's body, Bradford Crown Court was told.

Lindo had denied murder, pleading guilty instead to the manslaughter of Miss Stewart on 18 December last year. But a jury rejected his claim that he lost self-control following a row in which he accused her of mistreating their three-year-old daughter. In the seven weeks that followed, the court heard, Lindo – an "inveterate and accomplished liar" – hatched an elaborate plot to cover his tracks, telling friends and family that Miss Stewart had left him for a life abroad.

Jurors were told that he strangled her first and then, when she was still making noises, hit her with a child's chair and tried to choke her with a belt. He finally killed her by stabbing her 12 times with a kitchen knife.

Miss Stewart's mother, Helen, and sister, Katie, wept in the public gallery as the jury returned its verdict. But Lindo, in a grey suit and flanked by two burly guards, showed little emotion.

Lindo had lived a double life, the prosecution explained, having affairs with a number of women including Miss Rylance. She even spent Christmas with the family without realising Miss Stewart's body was still in the house. "He said what a fantastic Christmas it had been – the best one ever," she told the court.

In a bid to allay the concerns of Miss Stewart's friends and family, Lindo updated her Facebook page and sent texts from her mobile phone to prove she was still alive.

The couple had met while Lindo studied music at Huddersfield University. He got her to leave her husband, who was also his friend, and they set up home and started a family.

Jurors were told that Lindo was seen by friends and family as a doting father in a "perfect little family". But behind this carefully stage-managed façade lay a secret life of seducing other women. He told elaborate tales of how he was a struggling single father deserted by the mother of his children. He would even transform the family home into a "bachelor pad", hiding all signs of Miss Stewart when women called.

Miss Rylance, 29, described how she started a relationship with Lindo in August last year after he cashed a cheque in the money shop in Barnsley where she worked as a cashier. She said she soon became suspicious about the defendant's claim to be a single father but he kept reassuring her they were no longer together and Miss Stewart had left their children with him.

Miss Rylance, who has two children, said their relationship developed. She said: "He told me I was amazing – I was beautiful. I actually believed him and thought we would get married."

Lindo will be sentenced today.