Man admits murdering midwife Samantha Eastwood after affair

Michael Stirling pleads guilty to murder of midwife Samantha Eastwood (PA Images)

A man has pleaded guilty to murdering midwife Samantha Eastwood in a bout of “intense rage” after having a “long-standing affair” with her, a court heard.

Miss Eastwood’s body was discovered in a shallow grave in Staffordshire wrapped in a duvet with tape covering her mouth and eyes.

Michael Stirlingthe brother-in-law of Miss Eastwood’s ex-fiance John Peake, had a ‘longstanding, but not particularly intense affair’ with his victim.

He appeared on video link to admit to the crime as Miss Eastwood’s mother and sister watched from the court’s public gallery.

Floral tributes to Samantha Eastwood at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-On-Trent. (PA Images)

The defendant‘s barrister Charles Miskin QC told the court: “This was not a pre-meditated act.

“The context of the killing was a background of growing tension arising from a longstanding, but not particularly intense affair.

“There was an argument in that context and that led to him being very angry.

“After a struggle and while she was on the floor, he put his hands over her throat, her mouth and nose, and as a result of that she died.

“During his intense rage, he originally intended to cause her really serious bodily harm, but matters escalated and he carried out the intention to kill her.

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“He panicked afterwards and buried her in an area of which he had some knowledge.

“He entirely accepts that he tried, wholly dishonestly, to mislead others in the afternoon after the killing.

“He is absolutely horrified about what happened and is deeply sorry, not for himself, but for all the others who are victims of this crime.”

Miss Eastwood’s body was found in a rural area near Caverswall, Staffordshire, in August, a week after she was reported missing.