17/07/2018 14:51 BST | Updated 17/07/2018 16:31 BST

Ex-Ukip Councillor Stephen Searle Guilty Of Wife Anne's Murder After His Affair With Son’s Partner

'I never meant to hurt her'.

Stephen Searle has been found guilty of the murder of his wife 

A former Ukip councillor has been found guilty of killing his 62-year-old wife. 

Stephen Searle, 64, strangled his wife Anne at the couple’s home in Stowmarket, Suffolk, on 30 December. 

The ex-Royal Marine commando denied killing the 62-year-old after she discovered he was having an affair with their son’s girlfriend, but he was found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday. 

Searle, an ex-Royal Marine commando, represented Stowmarket South from 2013 to 2017 when he stood for re-election, but lost his seat. 

Anastasia Pomiateeva, who was in a relationship with the couple’s son Gary, is the mother of at least one of their grandchildren, the court heard. Mrs Searle is said to have posted screengrabs of the couple’s messages online after discovering the affair. 

Anne Searle was found unresponsive at the couple's home in Stowmarket, Suffolk, in January 

She also posted a Facebook status update on Christmas Day, which read: “I hope I will still be here in 2018. We will see.” She suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of being suffocated.

Her husband then made a call to Suffolk Police to say he had killed his wife and when asked how she died, he said: “Suffocation really I guess, bit of a bizarre situation but never mind.

“I’m not violent. I was going to sleep on it but now I just want to get it done.”

However, he later claimed in a police statement he was acting in self-defence, saying “I never meant to hurt her”.

Taking the stand during the trial, Searle said: “I looked down and saw a blade going backwards and forwards. I just grabbed it.

“It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. I thought I’ve got to stop this.”

The court heard the pair got into a struggle in which Searle claimed he was trying to grab the knife, leaving him with stab wounds to his right hand.

He told the jury: “It was just a blur. Eventually she stopped struggling and I went, ‘Thank fuck for that’.”

Mr Justice Green said Searle’s “act of infidelity in one way or another led to this”. Searle, who had been married to his wife for 45 years, will be sentenced on Wednesday. 

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.”