Former UKIP councillor denies deliberately killing wife at Stowmarket home

Stephen Searle Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Stephen Searle Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A former Suffolk UKIP councillor has denied deliberately killing his wife during a row about his affair with their daughter-in-law.

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court Stephen Searle denied throttling his 62-year-old wife Anne after she took off her wedding ring to let him know their marriage was over.

Searle, who was a Royal Marine for nine years, told the court that his wife often took off her wedding ring when they were at home because it was a bit loose.

Cross-examined by prosecution counsel Andrew Jackson, Searle denied a suggestion that they had been arguing about his affair and his wife had removed her wedding ring to show him their marriage was over.

Searle, 64, of Brickfields, Stowmarket, has denied murder and claims he was acting in self-defence.

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Giving evidence Searle claimed that on December 30 there was a violent struggle between him and his wife after she attacked him with a knife.

Searle said his wife had kept messages she had found on his phone following the discovery of his affair with his daughter-in-law several months earlier and would become upset after looking at them.

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“I wanted her to delete the messages but she didn’t.

“If she was upset it would normally be because she’d seen that content. Everything was fine apart from if she had looked at the material on the phone,” said Searle.

Searle claimed his wife had been watching television in her pyjamas and he had been drinking beer and playing games on his computer in the conservatory.

He went to get a beer and saw her holding a knife which he claimed she had stabbed into the arm of the sofa.

When he asked her why she had done it she had allegedly sworn at him and he had gone into the kitchen to get his beer.

“She seemed agitated. Things had changed,” he said.

He claimed he was later confronted by his wife, who was holding a steak knife, as he came out of the downstairs toilet.

“She looked very angry. I said to her ‘what the hell’s wrong?’. I then felt stinging in my stomach. I thought ‘what the hell?’ and looked down and saw the blade going backwards and forwards,” said Searle.

He grabbed the knife in a bid to disarm her, cutting his finger on the blade.

During the struggle his wife fell heavily backwards on to the floor and he landed on top of her.

He described pleading with her to give him the knife.

“I didn’t want any more damage. I felt I was going to be injured,” said Searle.

Searle, who accepted that as a former Royal Marine he had been trained in unarmed combat, said he had used his right hand to “pin” his wife down and demonstrated placing an open hand across the front of her neck with his thumb and forefinger open.

He said he had been concentrating on the knife in his wife’s right hand and didn’t remember using any force.

He said when she stopped struggling he went into the conservatory and bandaged the wound on his hand and looked at some minor wounds to his stomach.

When he returned to the living room he found his wife lying on the floor where he’d left her.

With his voice breaking with emotion Searle described her being cold and grey. “I held her hand and she was limp,” he said.

He described trying to work out what had happened. “It just didn’t make sense. I was calling her name,” he told the court.

He denied intentionally throttling his wife.

The court has heard that Searle dialled 999 on December 30 and admitted killing his wife.

It is alleged he murdered her after she discovered he was having an affair with their daughter-in-law Anastasia Pomiateeva.

It is alleged that as a former Royal Marine Searle was trained in unarmed combat and could have used a particular way of killing someone called a “chokehold” to kill his wife who died from compression of the neck.

The court heard that Searle started an affair with Miss Pomiateeva in April 2017 and his wife had found out about it several months later.

The trial continues.

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