A JURY has found a man guilty of murder after he strangled his partner to death as their baby daughter slept in the same room.

Ian Paton attacked Kayleigh Hanks in an “explosion of anger” at their home in London Road, Bexhill.

He claimed self defence and said Kayleigh had attacked him with a knife.

But police revealed that the 36-year-old sales rep had inflicted “superficial” injuries on himself to hide his crime.

At Hove Crown Court the jury found Paton guilty of murdering 29-year-old Kayleigh after a nine-day trial.

Judge Jeremy Gold QC described Paton as “cynical and reprehensible” as he was sentenced to life in prison.

Paton must serve a minimum of 16 years and 165 days before he can be considered for parole.

The murder happened at the flat in July last year.

Miss Hanks had been thrilled to find out she was pregnant after doctors told her she was unable to have children.

But now her daughter must grow up with the “barbaric loss” of her mother, Miss Hanks’ sister Emma Hanks told the court.

In the moments after the brutal murder, Paton set about cutting himself and arranging the scene to make it look like Miss Hanks, 29, had attacked him with a knife.

Paton, 36, of Snowdrop Rise in St Leonards bowed his head in the dock when the verdict was read out.

Sentencing him, Judge Jeremy Gold QC said: “I have no doubt that you strangled Kayleigh in an explosion of anger and then went about deliberately cutting yourself with the intention of advancing a false defence.

“That was a cynical and reprehensible action after what you had just done - taking the life of your newborn child’s mother.”

He cited the “toxic” background of the relationship and Paton’s history of putting his hands to people’s throats.

In an emotional statement read out on her behalf, Emma Hanks said her heart and the heart of her sister’s young daughter were “broken, shattered into tiny pieces”.

She said: “She knows her smell, her feel, the sound of her voice, how she looks and the feel of her cuddles.

“I can’t quite fill that void. There is little I can do to comfort her other than wipe away her tiny tears.”

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme said: “Ian Paton claimed in court that he acted in self-defence during an argument with Kayleigh, who he said had come at him with a knife.

“But our investigation showed that his superficial injuries were self-inflicted.

“This was the tragic climax of a series of issues in their relationship in which each had accused the other of having affairs.

“But this was made worse by Paton’s volatile personality and his tendency to react violently under pressure.

“This terrible crime has deprived a young woman of her life, has devastated her family, and has left a tiny child, aged just seven months and who was in the same room when her mother was killed by her father, without parents.”