Husband jailed for killing wife

A MENTALLY ill man who stabbed his wife to death as she prepared to leave him for his best friend has been jailed for three years and four months for manslaughter.

A MENTALLY ill man who stabbed his wife to death as she prepared to leave him for his best friend has been jailed for three years and four months for manslaughter.

Unemployed father-of-two Gareth Lewis was suffering from depression when he plunged a kitchen knife into the stomach of his 42-year-old wife Amanda after losing his job and discovering her affair.

At the time of the stabbing the couple had been arguing in the kitchen about who should move out of the family home in Fitzgerald Walk, Bury St Edmunds and Lewis had been using a knife to unwrap a joint of beef, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

But Lewis will serve less than two years behind bars after Judge John Devaux said he would be released from prison not later than half way through the sentence and the time he had spent on remand would count towards his jail spell.

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After yesterday's hearing Mrs Lewis's distraught mother June Keighley left the court saying "I hope he rots in hell" while Nigel Langfield, who had been having an affair with the 42-year-old, expressed disgust at the length of the sentence.

Lewis, 43, had denied murdering Mrs Lewis on October 24 last year but earlier this week pleaded guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

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Jailing him Judge Devaux said "The woman you killed was the only woman in your life and had been since you were a teenager."

The judge added: "You had become mentally ill in 2004 and were complaining of depression but you had only recently embarked on a course of medication and it is unlikely that it had kicked in or had any beneficial effect by October 24."

He said there was no evidence that he represented a danger to the public, although he would need to take medication for the foreseeable future.

Patricia Lynch, for Lewis, said he and his wife had met when they were 16-years-old and had married at the age of 21. "She was his first and only girlfriend," Miss Lynch added.

The couple, who had two children, lived in Melton Mowbray until the company Lewis worked for as an agricultural engineer relocated to Bury St Edmunds in 1997.

That company closed down in 2001 and Lewis was made redundant. He was unemployed for 16 months but finally managed to get another job.

However, he resigned from that post after eight weeks and was then unemployed for a further six months until he got another job.

Miss Lynch said: "This period of unemployment began to affect the defendant. He had always been a man who had worked hard and provided for his family.

"The situation had changed in that his wife became the bread winner and arguments between them increased."

Nigel Langfield, who had been Lewis' boss at work and was his best friend, began socialising with the family in 2001 and his relationship with Mrs Lewis developed over the next couple of years.

Lewis' mental health problems appeared to have started in January 2004. Before his depression set in Miss Lynch said that Lewis had enjoyed fishing with friends but as his condition worsened, he had stopped contacting friends and family, he wasn't eating or sleeping properly, he was short-tempered and started putting on weight.

He also started avoiding his wife and children and his feelings of inadequacy led him to consider hanging himself, said Miss Lynch.

As his relationship with his wife deteriorated she consulted a solicitor and told him she wanted him to move out of the family home and that she was going to keep the house and the children.

"The affect on him was devastating – he didn't want to lose his wife or his family", said Miss Lynch.

On the day of the stabbing, the couple had started arguing in the kitchen and Mrs Lewis had accused her husband of being incapable of looking after their children and of never being a good father.

"He told police that she had been 'shouting, shouting and shouting' at him", said Miss Lynch.

She said that if he had not been suffering from depression and an abnormality of the mind, the tragedy would not have happened.

She added he felt remorse and was unlikely to re-offend in the future.

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