Stephen Searle jailed: Former UKIP councillor who strangled his wife sentenced to life in prison

Prosecutor said ex-Royal Marine had probably placed his wife Anna in a choke hold that he had knowledge of from his military training

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Searle with Nigel Farage

A former UKIP councillor who strangled his wife has been sentenced to life in prison.

Ex-Royal Marine Stephen Searle claimed his wife Anna had attacked him with a knife at their home in Suffolk some months after she discovered he had an affair with their son’s partner.

The 64-year-old said he acted in self-defence but jurors at Ipswich Crown Court took just over three hours to find him guilty of murder.

Jailing Searle for life with a minimum term of 14 years, the Honourable Mr Justice Green, said: “Your actions have caused 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.

He told the six-day trial that the Searles’ marriage had been under strain since Ms Searle, 62, discovered her husband’s affair with their son Gary’s partner, Anastasia Pomiateeva, who was mother to at least one of their grandchildren, around June 2017.

In a 999 call made on 30 December 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 in Stowmarket within minutes of the call made at 10.19pm, where they found Ms 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”.

A post-mortem examination recorded that Ms Searle died of compression of the neck.

Forensic pathologist Dr Benjamin Swift said Ms 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 three sons, Stevie Searle, said: “Not only have I lost my mum, but because of what he’s done I’ve lost my dad too.”

The Independent

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