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Husband gets life for wife's 'efficient' murder

AN Irish bricklayer living in England who killed his wife 20 years ago and buried her in concrete was yesterday jailed for life.

Patrick Folan (46) strangled his then 24-year-old wife Michelle in 1981, and buried her body in concrete under a hospital.

Folan, a Galwayman who lived in North London, had worked on the hospital site where his wife's body was found at the time of her disappearance.

Ms Folan's remains lay undiscovered until 1999 when builders dug up her body during demolition work. A plastic bag covered her head. She had been strangled with a rope which was tightened with a stick.

UK police had questioned Folan several times about his wife's disappearance, however without a body they were never able to make an arrest.

Folan had claimed that his wife, whose mother was from Kerry, had vanished after a night in their local pub in October 1981. He later told detectives he had spent the night searching for her after she failed to return from the toilets.

After her disappearance, Folan continued to live as normal, attending family events and bringing up the couple's two children.

During the trial, relatives said that when they talked about Michelle at family get-togethers, he would change the subject or claim she had run away with another man.

The jury took just 80 minutes to find Folan guilty. Passing a mandatory life sentence the judge described the murder as "deliberate and efficient".

"I accept that you've been a good father to your children and brought them up well. But ... you took away their mother who also loved them. You took away a daughter, a sister and you took away a friend," the judge said.

The court heard the couple had a stormy relationship, and that Ms Folan had seen a divorce lawyer just before she was killed.

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