A former Ukip councillor and ex-Royal Marine has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 14 years for the murder of his wife.
Ex-Royal Marine Stephen Searle, 64, must serve a minimum of 14 years for strangling Anne Searle, 62, at their home in Stowmarket, Suffolk, on New Year’s Eve last year.
Searle said his wife attacked him with a knife and he was defending himself, but jurors at Ipswich Crown Court took three-and-a-half hours to find him guilty of her murder.
Her death came months after she discovered Searle had an affair with their son Gary’s partner Anastasia Pomiateeva.
The Honourable Mr Justice Green, sentencing Searle to life in prison with a minimum term of 14 years, told him: ‘Your actions have cause devastating waves of pain and anguish to crash through your entire family.’
Searle, who had been married for 45 years, looked straight ahead and showed no reaction as his fate was read out.
Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said Searle had probably placed his wife in a choke hold that he had knowledge of from his military training.
In a 999 call made on December 30 last year and played to jurors, Searle told police: ‘I’ve just killed my wife.’
He told the court he had not tried to call an ambulance and had ‘just sat there like a bloody idiot’.
Officers attended their home within minutes of the call made at 10.19pm and found Mrs Searle dead.
In bodycam footage recorded by the arresting officers, Searle is heard to say ‘I’ve been a very naughty boy’ and ‘everyone has their breaking point’.
Mr Jackson said there had ‘probably been yet another row between the two of them and in anger the defendant strangled his wife to death’.
Prosecutors said Searle ‘persisted in his efforts’ to seduce Ms Pomiateeva for weeks and sent her photos of himself bodybuilding.
The court heard the pair began a sexual relationship in April 2017, and this was kept hidden from the rest of the family, but the relationship was discovered three months later.
The couple’s son has spoken of the ‘huge betrayal’ which ultimately led to his mother being killed by his father.
Despite the infidelity, Gary says he wants to rebuild his relationship with his girlfriend of nine years – but cannot forgive his father.
He told the Daily Mirror: ‘I just couldn’t believe the man I absolutely – idolised and worshipped had done something like that to me.
‘But me and Anastasia just love each other so much that if anything this has brought us closer together.
‘If this doesn’t break us we can overcome anything together.’
He added that he did not have a father any more for ‘obvious reasons’.
Speaking following the conviction, Ms Pomiateeva said she was shocked when Searle first approached her.
She told the Mirror she felt ‘ashamed and guilty’ when the truth came out and wants to now rebuild her relationship with Gary.
A post-mortem examination recorded that Mrs Searle died of compression of the neck.
Forensic pathologist Dr Benjamin Swift said Mrs Searle would have lost consciousness after about eight to 15 seconds of pressure being applied to her neck, and death required further sustained pressure for a period of minutes.
In a victim impact statement, one of Searle’s sons, also called Stephen Searle, said: ‘Not only have I lost my mum, but because of what he’s done I’ve lost my dad too.’