Man guilty of murdering wife with crowbar after she 'taunted him about erectile dysfunction'

Tom Gillespie, news reporter

A man has been found guilty of bludgeoning his wife to death with a crowbar after she allegedly called him "limp and useless" because he suffered from erectile dysfunction.

David Pomphret, 51, claimed it was manslaughter after he struck Ann Marie, 49, over the head more than 30 times with the weapon on 2 November 2018.

The Barclays bank IT worker, who is facing life in prison, unleashed the "frenzied" attack on his wife at the stables where they kept their horses near their home in Winwick, Cheshire.

Pomphret was a "quiet man who snapped" after his wife taunted him for having erectile dysfunction, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

His wife of 22 years had been "ranting" at him and called him "limp and useless" before slapping him during a row about DIY, the jury was told.

Pomphret killed her before washing the blood off his hands, throwing the crowbar in a pond and burning and discarding bloodstained clothes.

He later dialled 999 and said he had found his wife "very dead" in a pool of blood.

Pomphret told emergency services: "There is brain and blood everywhere, and it looks like she has had her head beaten in."

He initially claimed he was innocent and was released on bail.

But he was re-arrested after police found his wife's "airborne blood" on his socks, a "huge mistake" which put him at the scene of the crime.

He then had to change his story, the jury was told, and admitted manslaughter.

Pomphret tearfully told the court he had "killed the woman I loved".

He blamed his wife's behaviour and claimed a "special defence" of a temporary loss of control.

Gordon Cole QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "The huge mistake was he did not get rid of his socks. There was airborne blood that put him at the scene of the murder.

"Now he's at a scenario he was at the scene. What's the next least worst alternative? Loss of self-control."

Pomphret was convicted of murder by the jury following a 10-day trial.

The attack came after he suffered abuse from his "volatile" wife who was autistic and had a borderline personality disorder, the trial heard.

The couple met on Mrs Pomphret's 21st birthday and were "happily married" with one teenage daughter.

But over the course of their relationship his wife's physical and mental health deteriorated, the jury was told.

Mrs Pomphret had a number of issues, including suffering from Asperger syndrome, and had recently had cancer treatment.

The defendant said he and their daughter developed "coping mechanisms", removing themselves, or his wife, from a situation and deciding to "let her rant".

The day of Ann Marie's death had been a normal day with Pomphret telling his wife he needed to pick up some tools to fix the shower, the court heard.

But she shouted he was "f****** crazy" and that he was "just going to create more s***" before criticising their daughter, the jury was told.

Pomphret told the court: "She ranted at me for being a bad parent, calling me f****** useless. Called me limp and useless. I was not performing very well.

"Marie was at this point raging, absolutely raging, finger-pointing, screaming. She then slapped me across the face.

"Er, I remember reaching out, grabbing her hood and... I don't remember.

"I was standing at the side of her body. There was blood on my hands and the crowbar. She was on the floor."

Defensive injuries to his victim's hands and arms were found as his wife covered her head to try to avoid the blows.

Pomphret told the jury he had lied to police because he wanted to be there for Megan and to "avoid this" in court.

He gave no reaction as the chairman of the jury delivered the unanimous guilty verdict following 10 hours, 42 minutes of deliberations.

His daughter watched from the public gallery, supported by friends and police officers.

Judge David Aubrey told Pomphret: "You have been convicted by the jury of the crime of the murder of your wife. There can only be one sentence - a sentence of life imprisonment."

He said he would set the minimum term before the defendant is eligible for parole when he passes sentence next Tuesday.