Ex-UKIP councillor Stephen Searle jailed for life for killing wife

Former Stowmarket councillor Stephen Searle who was found guilty of murdering his wife, Anne Picture

Former Stowmarket councillor Stephen Searle who was found guilty of murdering his wife, Anne Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A former UKIP councillor from Stowmarket who murdered his wife has been jailed for life today.

Former Royal Marine Stephen Searle, who was trained in unarmed combat, strangled his 62-year-old wife Anne in December last year after she discovered he’d been having an affair with their daughter-in-law.

Today Mr Justice Green jailed Searle for life and ordered him to serve a minimum of 14 years before he could be considered for release by the parole board.

Searle, 64, of Brickfields, Stowmarket, denied murdering his wife but was convicted by a jury after a six day trial.

During the trial the court heard that Searle, who has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, made a telephone call to Suffolk police at 10.19pm on December 30 last year and told the call handler he had killed his wife by suffocating her.

Read and hear 999 call made by ex-UKIP councillor Stephen Searle after killing wife

After his arrest he told officers: “I’ve been a very naughty boy” and “everyone has their breaking point.”

The court heard that Mrs Searle had discovered her husband’s infidelity with their daughter-in-law Anastasia Pomiateeva in June last year and this had put considerable strain on their marriage of 45 years.

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The court heard that Searle had been employed as manager of Solar Bowl in Sproughton Road, Ipswich and Miss Pomiateeva and Searle’s son Gary had also worked there.

Miss Pomiateeva and Searle had started a sexual relationship in April 2017 during which they had exchanged messages and explicit pictures and it was Mrs Searle’s finding of some of that material that led to her discovery of the affair.

The court heard that as a former Royal Marine Searle was trained in unarmed combat and had “probably” used a “chokehold” to kill his wife.

Giving evidence Searle denied deliberately killing his wife and claimed he had been acting in self-defence after she attacked him with a knife.

He told the court he had used his right hand to “pin” her down and demonstrated how he had used an open hand across the middle of the front of her neck.

He said he didn’t remember using any degree of force.

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