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Ex-Ukip councillor is guilty of strangling his wife to death

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Ex-Ukip councillor is GUILTY of strangling his wife to death after she learned of his affair with his son's partner

  • Former Ukip councillor Stephen Searle found guilty of murdering his wife
  • Anne Searle was found dead at their home in Suffolk after being strangled 
  • Former Royal Marine choked her to death and claimed it was self defence
  • But jury at Ipswich Crown Court found him guilty of her murder today 

By Joseph Curtis For Mailonline

Published: 09:51 EDT, 17 July 2018 | Updated: 10:23 EDT, 17 July 2018

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Former Ukip councillor Stephen Searle has been found guilty of murdering his wife after she discovered his affair with his son's partner.

Anne Searle, 62, was found strangled to death at their £400,000 home in Stowmarket, Suffolk last December.     

The former Royal Marine, 64, claimed he had choked her in self defence after she 'tried to stab him' in a row over his infidelity.

He even claimed he then went for a cigarette because he did not realise she had died.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said Searle had probably placed his wife in a choke hold that he had knowledge of from his military training.

Searle showed no reaction as the verdict was read out on Tuesday following a six-day trial.

Mr Jackson told the trial that the Searles' marriage had been under strain since Mrs Searle discovered her husband's affair with their son Gary's partner Anastasia Pomiateeva, who was mother to at least one of their grandchildren.

This was discovered around June 2017, he said.

In a 999 call made on December 30 last year and played to jurors, Searle told police: 'I've just killed my wife.'

Officers attended their home in Stowmarket, Suffolk within minutes of the call made at 10.19pm, and found Mrs Searle dead.

'The prosecution case is that on that Saturday night there had probably been yet another row between the two of them and in anger the defendant strangled his wife to death,' Mr Jackson said.

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.

Searle had been married to his wife for 45 years and they had three sons together.

Mr Jackson said that at Christmas last year Mrs Searle wrote on Facebook: 'Happy Christmas to you all. Hope you are doing well. Have a good day. I hope I will still be here in 2018. We will see.'

Searle is to be sentenced by the Honourable Mr Justice Green. 

In the 999 call played to the court Searle told police: 'I've just killed my wife.'

Asked how he killed her, he said: 'Suffocation really. Bit of a bizarre situation, but never mind.'

The call handler then asked: 'Are there just the two of you in the house?'

'Well, just the one of us now,' he replied.

In the call made at 10.19pm, Searle said it happened 'about an hour ago' and added he had considered going to sleep and calling police in the morning 

Searle was elected a UKIP councillor for Suffolk County Council in 2013 but later lost his seat.

He worked at a bowling alley alongside one of his sons, Gary.

Gary Searle was in a relationship with a woman who worked there, Anastasia Pomiateeva, and they 'had children but never married', Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said.

Mr Jackson told the court that Searle began to pursue his son's partner Ms Pomiateeva and, while he was serving as a Ukip councillor for Suffolk County Council, he invited her to the council building.

Mr Jackson said Searle began a sexual relationship with Ms Pomiateeva in April 2017, and this was kept hidden from the rest of the family.

He gave her the nickname SBG, Steve's Beautiful Girl, and called his wife a 'piece of s***', Ms Pomiateeva said.

The affair ended last August after Mrs Searle found intimate text massages that her husband and his lover had sent each other, after guessing his PIN number on his phone which was 4545 as he had served in 45 Commando.

Searle claimed that he had to stand between his wife and lover after Mrs Pomiateeva turned up on his doorstep and the pair hurled abuse at each other.

Mrs Searle later told work colleagues at a sushi manufacturing company that she did not want to end her 45 year marriage because she was 'too old to start again'. 

But prosecutor Andrew Jackson said that the affair had put 'a considerable strain' on their marriage.

The couple's other daughter-in-law Victoria Searle, who is married to their son Stephen, said her mother-in-law was 'feeling down and unhappy' and told her that she had been 'arguing every night' with her husband.

She said Mrs Searle had confided in her that her husband who lost his UKIP seat on Suffolk County Council in May last year, had threatened her, saying: 'I will kill you, I will'.

Mrs Searle had told her she had replied: 'You wouldn't do that. You are a weak man. You would not be able to do that.'

Colleagues of Mrs Searle said she had told them that Searle had grabbed her arms, causing bruising during a fight, and had threatened to throw her down the stairs in another bust-up.

One work colleague claimed that Mrs Searle had also told her that her husband had thrown their Christmas Day dinner of roast chicken and all the trimmings in the bin before she could cook it.

She was also upset that he had only bought her a £14 knitted hat and scarf from Asda for Christmas while she had bought him an expensive present. 

When police arrived at his house, Searle told officers: 'Sorry, I have been a very naughty boy.'

He later added: 'She cut me with a knife. She tried to get me in the stomach first, but I only have a couple of nicks.'

As he was being taken away in a police van, a camera recorded him as saying: 'Everyone has their breaking point.'

Searle told the court that he and his wife had 'gone back to normal' after he promised to end the affair.

He said they had been fine together over Christmas last year, even though he had little contact with his son Gary. He claimed that he ha donly thrown away the chicken giblets rather than the whole meal

Searle said had gone to fetch another beer on the night of December 30 after they had both been drinking heavily when she suddenly stabbed the arm of a sofa in a rage.

He claimed that she swore at him when he asked what she was doing.

Searle said he was later leaving the toilet when she confronted him with a serrated steak knife and tried to stab him in the stomach

He told the jury he was left with minor prick injuries to his stomach after the knife penetrated through three layers of clothing and a cut to his hand from where he tried to grab the blade.

Searle claimed they both fell over and he landed on top of his wife as she 'struggled frantically'.

He described how he gripped her right arm with his left hand and then put his right hand around her neck in 'a pinning movement'.

Searle said he was concentrating on trying to disarm his wife while he held her in the grip for possibly 20 to 25 seconds.

He said: 'Eventually she stopped struggling and I said thank 'f' for that. I said I am going to have a fag and got up to go into the conservatory. She didn't reply.'

Searle said he then bandaged his hand after realising there was 'quite a lot of blood' and smoked two cigarettes

He said: 'I was expecting her to kick off again. When she didn't, I thought she had gone to bed, and that it would be fine in the morning.'

Searle choked back tears in the witness box as he described leaving the conservatory to see his wife on the floor in the position he had left her.

Under cross examination, he said he had not called for help immediately as he had been in shock.

Searle was also asked why he had not attempted first aid. He replied: 'When I looked at my wife, I didn't think I could get her back.. I knew I could not.'

The prosecutor said: 'You were trying to give yourself more time to concoct a story?' He replied: 'No, sir.' 

His youngest son Stephen, 29, said in a victim impact statement that his mother's murder had caused him 'absolute misery'.

He said he had turned to alcohol since her death and had been left depressed and suicidal.

The statement added: 'I feel emotionally drained most days. It has taken its toll on my, my family and friends.

'I have turned to alcohol as a released which has affected my relationship with my wife and family, physically and emotionally.

'The relationship between me and my brothers has been torn apart. It has left a huge void in my heart which is something I will never get over.

'Losing my mum has destroyed me. It has left me completely broken.

'I will never be able to hug my Mum or hear her sweet Scottish voice ever again.

'If my dad had just admitted what he had done and been honest, it would not have had to go to court.' 

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