Man murdered his wife – and then likened himself to Hannibal Lecter

An estranged husband strangled his wife and then dismembered her before disposing of her in a tip and country park, a court hard.

Thomas McCann, 49, got into an argument with his wife Yvonne, affectionately known as Von, before he attacked her.

Parts of her body were found in bin bags days later by dog walkers in Reddish Vale park, Stockport, in May last year.

Following her death, McCann used her mobile phone to message family and friends, suggesting that she was still alive, Manchester Crown Court heard.

It wasn’t until one of their children discovered their mum’s phone and rings in his jacket pocket after a family BBQ that suspicions were raised over her disappearance.

Once Yvonne’s body was discovered, McCann was arrested.

After four subsequent police interviews he admitted in a statement: “I killed my wife and disposed of her in the garbage.”

McCann pleaded guilty earlier this month to the murder of Yvonne and will be sentenced tomorrow morning.

Prosecuting, Andrew Smith said that the couple were childhood sweethearts and had been married for 24 years with three children, now in their 20s.

He said Yvonne, 46, had started a new relationship with a man a number of years ago after discovering McCann had been unfaithful.

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On May 23 last year, neighbours heard the couple arguing at around 9am for a few minutes.

“She (The neighbour) messaged Yvonne asking if she was OK and Yvonne responded saying it was over a bag of frozen chips,” Mr Smith said.

“Very shortly after it is suggested McCann began operating her phone.”

Both Yvonne and McCann were invited to a family BBQ by their son. McCann said he would like to come but had an argument with Yvonne and she had ‘walked out’.

Then using Yvonne’s phone he said: “OK… your dad is a mong, he might be on his own.”

He wasn’t seen leaving the house again between 10.40am and 3.42pm. The prosecutors suggest during that time he was ‘engaged in dismembering her body’.

McCann continued using Yvonne’s phone to speak to her family about the BBQ stating she wouldn’t be going, and even created a conversation between them wherein he apologised for the frozen chips.

After finishing work as a takeaway delivery driver, McCann was next seen driving towards Hollow End and CCTV showed him carrying two large bin bags towards Reddish Vale Country Park before returning empty handed, it was said.

Prosecutors said he went to his son’s BBQ before leaving at 11pm and had to be helped home by his daughter and son due to his drunken state.

“Rachel then found her mum’s phone and rings in his jacket pocket,” Mr Smith added.

“McCann said he had met her on Hempshaw Lane in Offerton and dropped her off at her partners house and she had given him the rings for safe keeping, and said her phone had fallen into the footwell of the car.”

Yvonne McCann
(Image: M.E.N.)

He then reported her missing.

On May 25 2020 dog walkers discovered eight bin bags containing body parts of Yvonne.

It was said only 50pc of her body has ever been found.

Following his arrest he was interviewed four times by the police and said they got into an argument about frozen chips that were left out of the freezer, prosecutors said.

In a further interview he said that he identified himself as ‘Hannibal Lecter’ and told officers he had been joined by ‘a little friend’ overnight.

In his prepared statement he said: “I killed my wife and disposed of her in the garbage. I’m so so sorry to all my children.”

He explained that he disposed of her body and the tools at Bredbury Recycling Centre and Reddish Vale Country Park.

He added that once an argument started between them it escalated. He said she shouted in his face, he lost control and couldn’t stop, and strangled her and ‘cut her body up in order to make her go away’.

In a statement, their daughter Rachel Lawson said her mum was born in Stockport and worked as a carer.

She said: “She was a full time mum, a good mum, she was always buying us things and wanted the best for us.

“It hasn’t really sunk in, I loved my mum very much and I also love my dad.”

Yvonne’s partner Robert Thomas said: “I feel very angry towards Thomas, he has torn the family apart.

“She was a wonderful, loving mother to all of her children and a doting grandma to two grandchildren.”

McCann was said to have unrelated previous convictions of some age.

Mitigating, Louise Blackwell QC said: “This blew up over a totally unnecessary, small and domestic detail.

“Anybody looking at the messages and the things said would realise this was never going to be a success for covering up his involvement.

“It was totally unbelievable and done out of blind panic.

“The defendant’s own childhood was extreme, he was abused in every way.

“They were childhood sweethearts and he described the relationship as the best thing that ever happened to him.

Manchester Crown Court
(Image: MEN Media)

“There was a serious and long standing abuse of alcohol throughout his life.

“Post crime, for about an hour after he froze and couldn’t think what to do – he chose what must be the worst possible route thereafter.”

Judge Alan Conrad QC will sentence McCann tomorrow morning.

MEN – Stockport