KILLER David Roustoby was today handed a life sentence for the “cowardly and callous” murder he thought he had got away with for 13 years.

The York man had bragged to friends in 2019 about the 2007 premeditated murder, then lied to a jury that he hadn’t killed.

On the day he was sentenced, he again changed his story to claim that the death had been in a fight. But Mr Justice Goss today (Monday) rejected the fight claim.

“This was a cowardly, callous crime committed by someone whom I am satisfied is manipulative, controlling and deceitful,” he told Roustoby as he jailed him for life and ordered that he serve a minimum of 19 years from last April before applying for parole.

Also behind bars is Sharron Roustoby, the woman whom Mr Justice Goss said the murderer controlled to a degree.

Leeds Crown Court heard he had recruited her to help him move David Clarke’s body and disguise where he had died.

The 50-year-old from Rowntree Avenue, Clifton, was jailed for two years and eight months after admitting assisting an offender.

Mr Clarke’s wife and sister told Mr Justice Goss the effect of having to live in limbo for 13 years, not knowing the true circumstances of death.

“He doesn’t deserve justice, he deserved life,” his wife Angela Hunter said in her personal statement.

She described her York husband as a “kind, caring, loving” man and a “fantastic story teller” who loved to be with elderly people because he cared.

Mr Clarke’s sister Linda said she had never believed his death was accidental despite an open verdict at a 2008 inquest and his death had accelerated the medical condition that led to their sister’s death.

Both women told how David Roustoby’s lies about Mr Clarke’s character and the way he had treated the deceased’s body had increased their anguish.

The judge told Sharron Roustoby her actions in helping the killer move the body and destroy any evidence in her car had helped delay his arrest and conviction by 13 years.

David Roustoby, now 43, of Rawcliffe Lane, Clifton, denied murder but was convicted by a jury.

The judge said he had planned the murder, persuading Mr Clarke to go to his flat, where he plied him with alcohol and crushed up diazepam in his drink until he was incapacitated, strangled him with a tie and arranged for his body to be moved to Towthorpe Bridge. For the killer, Kama Melly QC said he denied that he had subjected Sharron Roustoby to domestic violence and didn’t accept he had drugged Mr Clarke with the deceased’s own prescribed medication.

He himself had been dependent on alcohol and suffered from depression.

For Sharron Roustoby, Amjad Malik QC said David Roustoby had used her and she had not revealed the truth until this year because he had made her complicit in his murder.

She had no previous convictions and had panicked when she had walked into David Roustoby’s flat, seen Mr Clarke’s body and realised what her then boyfriend had done.

Sharron Roustoby cried during the hearing and gasped as she was jailed.