A British man who made a full confession to murdering and dissecting the body of a woman in Spain has been jailed.

Paul Leonard Durant, 47, had even claimed that he ate parts of his victim Karen Durrel.

After a dramatic plea bargain in a Spanish court, he will now be jailed for 12 years for manslaughter.

His admission of killing Durrel, 41, came only minutes after he denied the allegation in a court in Alicante, Costa Blanca.

Karen was beaten to death with a mallet at her Spanish home, close to Benidorm, southern Spain.

Her body has never been found.

Durant initially denied killing Karen on the night of February 18-19, 2004.

He also rejected allegations from state prosecutor Imaculada Palau that he had cut-up and disposed of her body.

What he did not know was that Ms Palau, with the agreement of the presiding judge, had reached a plea deal with his own defense lawyer.

The deal would see Durant sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for manslaughter - rather than the original demand of 18 years for murder.

Asked if this had been explained to him by his defense lawyer, Durant said: "No. I haven't seen him for nearly four years when I was remanded in custody."

The judge then allowed the lawyer to speak to his client.

After just three minutes explaining the deal through an interpreter, Durant returned to the stand.

Asked again if he agreed he had killed Karen, he replied: "Yes."

But when he was asked if he had cut-up and disposed of her body, he said: "No. I just left her there."

Durant then received his plea terms:

:: 12 years imprisonment for manslaughter:: Three months for stealing Karen's credit card and mobile phone, and :: Six months for an unrelated offence of breaking and entering a house at the resort of Denia six days after Karen died.

At the time of his arrest, Durant had told, in a police statement, how he beat Karen to death with a mallet.

He then went on to describe how he cut-up the body in the bathroom of her flat with a knife and a saw before putting the parts into rubbish bags.

He then stuffed them in a suitcase which he placed in a bin in the street.

And in a letter later sent from his prison cell to a British tabloid newspaper, Durant even claimed he had eaten "all the bits that were (sic) eatable".

A statement released by Karen's family said: "We derive little comfort from what happened here today.

"We cannot find closure and move on with the rest of our lives at this moment."