A former Ukip councillor who strangled his wife to death months after she discovered he had an affair with their son’s partner has been sentenced life in prison.
Ex-Royal Marine Stephen Searle, 64, said his 62-year-old wife Anne Searle attacked him with a knife at their home in Stowmarket, Suffolk and he was defending himself, but jurors at Ipswich Crown Court took just three-and-a-half hours to find him guilty of her murder.
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 and had three sons with Anna Searle, looked straight ahead and showed no reaction as the sentence was read out.
The jury had heard the their marriage had been under strain after Anna discovered her husband’s affair in June 2017.
In a 999 call made on December 30 last year and played to jurors, Searle told police: “I’ve just killed my wife.
A post-mortem examination recorded that Anna Searle died of compression of the neck.
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.”
Son Gary Searle, whose girlfriend, Anastasia Poimateeva, had the affair with his father, spoke to the Daily Mirror newspaper on Wednesday about the “huge betrayal” which led to his mother being killed, but said he still wanted to rebuild his nine-year relationship with Poimateeva.
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”.