A FORMER soldier, suffering depression after witnessing genocide and war graves in Bosnia, strangled his long-term partner after a row, then contemplated suicide.
Shaun Lewis, 39, admitted he had been with another man but during an argument murdered partner Lee Armstrong, 10 years his junior.
Lewis called the Samaritans and said he had done something bad. He did not want to go on living without his partner and said he was thinking of killing himself.
He was persuaded to alert the authorities and he then called the police and admitted the killing.
At Mold Crown Court yesterday, Lewis – who claimed he had been subjected to violence by his partner and that night retaliated for the first time - received a life sentence after he admitted murdering Chester city centre worker Mr Armstrong, 28, at the flat they shared in Flint.
Judge John Rogers jailed him for life and ordered he should serve a minimum of 12 years.
“On a Sunday evening in April you took the life of a valued member of society, Lee Armstrong.
“No punishment can even begin to console his mother, his family and his friends,” he said. “Their loss is awful and immeasurable.”
The court heard how, in November 2007, Shaun Lewis attempted suicide – not for the first time since leaving the army with a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, having witnessed the genocide in Bosnia in the early 1990s.
Lewis told how he had killed his partner, who worked in a Chester antiques shop on the City Walls, during a row: “ He grabbed me by my throat and I grabbed his throat.”
Mr Armstrong let go, Lewis didn’t and then Mr Armstrong dropped to the floor.
Lewis told the Samaritan he had a knife and was thinking about filling the bath, cutting his wrists and lying in the bath. He then called the police.
The front door was unlocked, officers entered, and Lewis was sitting on the couch in the living room with the telephone by his side.
Lewis told the officer his partner was upstairs.
Dr Charles Wilson, a Home Office pathologist, recorded the cause of death as asphyxia.
Defending barrister Andrew Robertson QC said Lewis’ guilty plea was an indication of true and genuine remorse and he did not want to prolong the agony of the victim’s mother.
Lewis had tried to commit suicide three times, once before the two men met and twice during the relationship.