A JEALOUS ex-husband has been jailed for life for the murder of an Accrington "love rival" whose body has never been found.

Guillotine operator Shane Fitzpatrick, 36, was convicted of killing "wheeler dealer" David Guilfoyle by an 11-1 majority by a Preston Crown Court jury which had deliberated the forensic and circumstantial evidence against him for over 13 hours.

There were cries of joy and relief from Mr Guilfoyle's family and friends when the verdict was announced.

Judge David Clarke spoke of the "planned and professionally executed killing" and ordered that Fitzpatrick should serve a minimum of 20 years.

Fitzpatrick, who denied murder, showed no emotion as the judge added: "The significant degree of premeditated planning and the effective concealment or disposal of the body added greatly to the distress of his family."

The court had heard that Fitzpatrick's possessive obsession with his ex-wife, Debbie, led him to murder Mr Guilfoyle who had been dating her.

The prosecution claimed he visited Mr Guilfoyle's £230,000 bungalow in Royds Avenue, Accrington, dressed all in black, at dead of night and struck him with force at least twice outside his front door.

Extensive blood stains on the driveway and path outside the home showed Mr Guilfoyle was violently attacked before being dragged, bleeding profusely, down the driveway and along the pavement outside.

Fitzpatrick's only mistake, despite taking great care to cover his tracks, was to leave a small armour-clad torch on top of a garden hosepipe at the side of the house. The torch contained his DNA and was the key piece of prosecution evidence.

Ex-wife Debbie, of Hill Street, Baxenden, claimed in the witness box that SHE had lent it to Mr Guilfoyle while he was working on his car and then forgotten about it.

The prosecution asked for permission to treat her as a hostile witness after she also retracted an earlier statement about Fitzpatrick's violence before and during their nine-year marriage which ended in 2004.

In their last conversation before the murder, Fitzpatrick told Debbie that it was pointless him seeing other women because he was still in love with her.

Mr Guilfoyle, who has a 16-year-old daughter Samantha, was killed on or about 25 May last year.

He was last seen alive after leaving the Grey Horse pub in Whalley Road, Accrington, where he had been watching the Champions League Final between Liverpool and AC Milan.