A MAN has today been cleared of murdering his girlfriend by intentionally strangling her during a sex game that went wrong.

But Daniel Lancaster, 25, has admitted the manslaughter of Anna Banks and will be sentenced next week.

Lancaster told the trial at Manchester Crown Court he never intended to harm her.

The court had heard that Lancaster, of Hawley Street, Colne, often throttled Miss Banks during sex but he never intended to do her any permanent damage.

The court heard that the couple had been in a relationship for four months and lived in separate flats in a home for vulnerable adults.

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday December 22 Lancaster called paramedics to the flat on Centaur Court, in Hawley Street.

On arrival they found Lancaster watching television in the front room and fiddling with his mobile phone.

He told them to go into the bedroom where they discovered classroom assistant Miss Banks’ body under a duvet.

There were marks around her throat and dried blood on her face.

It is believed her body had been there for at least 24 hours.

A post-mortem examination revealed the 23-year-old died as a result of manual strangulation.

It took jurors one minute short of ten hours to reach a decision on which ten of them agreed, after being directed this morning that a majority decision would be accepted by the judge, if they could not reach a unanimous decision.

Judge Clemence Goldstone QC told jurors it had been an unusual case and thanked them for their conscientious' deliberations.