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Jury retires in former Stowmarket councillor’s murder trial

PUBLISHED: 13:11 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:08 17 July 2018

Stephen Searle Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Stephen Searle Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

The jury in the trial of a former Suffolk UKIP councillor accused of murdering his wife has retired to consider its verdict.

Before Ipswich Crown Court is Stephen Searle, 64, of Brickfields, Stowmarket, who has denied murdering his wife Anne at their home on December 30 last year.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, and defence counsel Steven Dyble made their closing speeches to the jury yesterday and the trial judge Mr Justice Green summed up the case to the jury this morning.

During the six day trial it has been alleged that Searle, a former Royal Marine, throttled his 62-year-old wife after she discovered he had been having an affair with their 39-year-old daughter-in-law Anastasia Pomiateeva.

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

It has been 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.

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

An examination found that Mrs Searle had died of compression to the neck.

Giving evidence Searle denied deliberately killing his wife and claimed she had tried to stab him with a steak knife.

He said that during a struggle to disarm her he had grabbed the blade and suffered a cut to his hand.

He said at one stage they had fallen to the floor with him landing on top of his wife.

He described pleading with her to give him the knife and said he feared he was going to be injured if he didn’t get the knife away from her.

He claimed he had used his right hand to pin his wife down and demonstrated placing an open hand across the front of her neck.

He said he didn’t remember using any force and denied using a chokehold.

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