A ‘MONSTER’ who battered a grandmother to death with a hammer during an acute psychotic episode will be detained for life.

 Mother-of-three Leanne Unsworth had tried to help 40-year-old paranoid schizophrenic Shaun Sanders before her brutal death.

But former soldier Sanders became convinced Miss Unsworth, also 40, had been taking photos of his son and launched an attack so devastating it damaged her brain stem.

He pleaded guilty to her manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Two consultant forensic psychiatrists agreed Sanders was suffering from psychosis, which left his ability to form rational judgements and exercise self-control substantially impaired.

Judge Robert Altham, passing sentence at Preston Crown Court, imposed a hospital order.

The minimum term is four years and 48 days but the judge said he might never be released.

He added: “There was no provocation, there was no justification. There was certainly no mercy.”

Before the killing, Sanders had told medics he feared his mental health was deteriorating and he would end up hurting someone, the court heard.

Philip Holden, defending, said: “There should be real consideration given to the fact he did make concerted efforts, around the crucial time.”

An earlier hearing was told on the day she was attacked in her own home, in Marlborough Street, Burnley, Miss Unsworth had been arranging a fourth birthday party for her granddaughter.

Miss Unsworth’s mother, Margaret Ward, said the death had brought her family, including daughters Paige and Louise, and son Adam, to their knees.

Her cousin Nicola Unsworth described Sanders as a “monster”.

In another statement, daughter Paige said she felt the justice system had let the family down by allowing such a man to be free. Daughter Louise said she was still haunted by the memory of discovering her mother’s body at the house on the day.

Jason Pitter, prosecuting, said Sanders and Miss Unsworth were part of the same social group. Miss Unsworth had attempted to help the defendant with his mental health problems. Sanders had been increasingly aggressive with friends in the weeks before he attacked the grandmother.

The court heard on the day of the attack, Sanders was with Andrew Purvis at another of their friend’s homes, taking spice. The defendant began asking questions about why Miss Unsworth had described his children as “cute”.

He went with Mr Purvis to Miss Unsworth’s home and once inside, Sanders launched a “frenzied and brutal” attack on Miss Unsworth, raining down blows with a hammer he had brought with him.

The pair later fled to Wythenshawe but Mr Purvis alerted the police and Sanders was arrested.

He told a custody officer: “The demon in my head told me to get rid of her because she was taking photos of my son, so I went to smack her with a hammer.”

Miss Unsworth’s body was later found to have 28 separate injuries, 21 of them to her head.

Sanders had three previous convictions, including two glassings and a machete attack.