DANNY Spencer was today sentenced to a minimum of 16 years in prison for the murder of 59-year-old Jane Wiggett in Cheltenham last year.

Spencer, 58 and of Prestbury Road in Cheltenham, strangled his former wife and hid her body under bedding at her flat in Mendip Road.

Jane's body was discovered by police on August 16 last year after her family reported her missing.

A manhunt was launched for Spencer and he was arrested at a hotel near Birmingham Airport on August 19.

Spencer was handed a life sentence, with the minimum prison term of 16 years, today at Bristol Crown Court.

Jane's family have issued the following statement: "The family of Jane Wiggett would like to thank everyone concerned for the support given over this very long and difficult year.

"Special thanks to our barrister team and Gloucestershire Police for their hard work and continued support in finding justice for Jane.

"People have been very kind to us when we may not have always wanted to speak about Jane.

"Jane was very private and would have hated all the attention but she was popular, funny, sensitive, kind, loyal and very protective of her family.

"We hope she can now rest in peace knowing that she has been listened to and justice is seen to be done."

Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Mather, who led the police investigation, said "This was a difficult case that relied on the police piecing together a number of strands of evidence that clearly showed that Jane Wiggett had died at the hands of Danny Spencer.

"Over the past 40 years she had suffered numerous occasions of domestic abuse and violence until she had the courage to leave and divorce him. However, Danny Spencer continued to intrude and impose on her life which she sometimes tolerated for the benefit of her children and grandchildren until Mr Spencer murdered her.

"Mr Spencer was a bully towards Jane Wiggett and relied on fear and violence to control her life.

"This case will now be a subject of a domestic homicide review to establish Gloucestershire Police's response to reported incidents prior to her murder and we look forward to the findings.

"Our thoughts are with Jane's family and in particular her children who have to live their lives without either parent due to the actions of Danny Spencer."