A pensioner is facing life behind bars after being convicted of murdering his estranged wife in a drive-by shooting after he was ordered to pay her a £10,000 divorce settlement.
Michael Reader, 70, blasted 63-year-old Marion Price with a shotgun as she sat in her car outside her house after tracking her movements for months.
A court heard that he carried out the “cold, calculated murder” after being told to pay his former partner £10,000 just a few days earlier - something he “bitterly resented”.
He shot the grandmother-of-three through the window of her Vauxhall Corsa as he drove past on his motorbike in the picturesque village of Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, on December 15 last year.
Price’s brother and son-in-law later found her blood-soaked body slumped in the front seat of the car.
Reader, who was described as a “controlling husband” who was “obsessed with money”, was accused of laying in wait and killing her because he didn’t want to part with his money following an acrimonious legal battle over their finances.
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She had told friends she was “scared of what Reader would do next” following the judge's ruling in court.
Reader, who planted a tracker on Marion's car after the pair separated in 2017, had also previously threatened “If you leave me, I'll kill you” and was accused of attacking her with a mallet.
He was found guilty of murder after an eight week trial at Northampton Crown Court, where his best friend and alleged accomplice Stephen Welch, 61, also appeared accused of helping Reader, of Booth Rise in Northampton, before and after the shooting.
Prosecutor Mary Loram QC said: “Michael Reader was a man obsessed with money and it was a theme of his separation from Marion Price that he did not want to part with it.”
Detective Chief Inspector Joe Banfield, of Northamptonshire Police, said after the verdict: “Michael Reader is a manipulative, controlling bully, who could not stand the fact that Marion Price had escaped his clutches, left him, and was starting to enjoy her life again.
“The campaign of abuse Reader imposed on Marion throughout their marriage caused her to live in almost constant fear.
“He continuously put her down, ridiculed her, used threats of violence and made her life hell while they were together.
“Reader was a man obsessed with control. When Marion bravely walked out on him, it was too much for him to take and he began tracking her movements.
“Finally, after being ordered to pay Marion £10,000 as a final divorce settlement, he took the decision to murder her at close range, in cold blood.”
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