A man who strangled a woman before dumping her body on a Co Clare beach has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Colm Deely, 41, of School Road, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare was found guilty of the murder of Deirdre McCarthy in March 2011.

Her body was found on Fanore Beach four days after she went missing.

Ms McCarthy had been socialising with a group of friends, including Deely, on the night of her disappearance.

Deely told gardaí he had gone to her house and they lay together on a bed.

He said he must have rolled over and he was holding her by the neck - it all happened in a flash. Deely said he took Ms McCarthy from the house to the car but she had stopped breathing.

He said he stopped the car, put her over the wall and she rolled down to the sea.

Deely said he did not mean any of it to happen.

In imposing a life sentence, Mr Justice Barry White said it was a mandatory sentence and he had no discretion in the matter.

The victim's sister Helen Geoghegan read out a statement to the court.

She said Deirdre was a very caring person who loved life.

There had been no closure for her family, no moving on, and the passing of time had made Deirdre's death more real, Ms Geoghegan said.

The murder had caused constant nightmares and sleepless nights, she added.