Samantha Eastwood: Midwife murderer jailed for 17 years

Michael Stirling Image copyright Staffordshire Police
Image caption Michael Stirling, from Bucknall, used Samantha Eastwood’s phone to send messages to her family, tricking them into thinking she was still alive

The man who murdered midwife Samantha Eastwood went to his parents’ house for dinner with her dead body in his van, a sentencing hearing was told.

Michael Stirling, 32, admitted killing Ms Eastwood, from Stoke-on-Trent, after a “long-standing” affair.

He buried the 28-year-old in a shallow grave with tape around her head at Caverswall, Staffordshire, in August, eight days after she went missing.

Stirling was sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in jail for her murder.

Image copyright Samantha Eastwood
Image caption Samantha Eastwood was missing for more than a week before her body was found in a shallow grave

Judge The Hon Mrs Justice Sue Carr said Stirling “lied over and over again”.

Married landscape gardener Stirling, who is the brother-in-law of Ms Eastwood’s ex-fiancé John Peake, showed no emotion during his sentencing at Stafford Crown Court.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Ms Eastwood’s sister, Gemma, said Stirling gave her a hug the day after her sister went missing.

She said that moment would “forever haunt her” and her sibling was treated like “a piece of meat” by her killer.

Ms Eastwood was last seen in uniform leaving work at Royal Stoke University Hospital on the morning of 27 July.

She was “smothered and strangled to death” by Stirling at her home in Stockton Brook in Stoke-on-Trent, hours later.

Her body was discovered at a disused quarry on 5 August wrapped in a duvet cover with tape covering her eyes and mouth.

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