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UKIP councillor denies deliberately killing his wife during row about affair

PUBLISHED: 14:09 13 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:07 13 July 2018

Former UKIP councillor Stephen Searle  Picture: ARCHANT

Former UKIP councillor Stephen Searle Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

A former UKIP councillor who had an affair with his daughter-in-law has denied deliberately killing his wife during a row about his infidelity.

Forensics investigate the scene in The Brickfields, Stowmarket. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNForensics investigate the scene in The Brickfields, Stowmarket. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Giving evidence, Stephen Searle told a jury that on the evening of his wife Anne’s death she had attacked him with a knife and there had been a violent struggle as he tried to disarm her.

Searle said his 62-year-old wife had kept messages she had found on his mobile phone following the discovery of his affair with his daughter-in-law Anastasia Pomiateeva and would become upset after looking at them.

“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 that on the evening of his wife’s death on December 30 last year, she had been watching television and he had been drinking beer and playing games on his computer in the conservatory.

He got up to get another beer and saw his wife holding a knife which she used to stab the arm of the sofa.

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

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

He went back into the conservatory and had later used the toilet in the downstairs cloakroom.

He claimed that when he came out of the toilet he was confronted by his wife who was holding a sharp steak knife.

“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.

“I felt the penetration and I knew it was pretty serious. I thought I’ve got to get hold of this bloody knife.”

He said that realising his wife was stabbing him with the knife, he had tried to disarm her and cut his finger on the blade as he grabbed it.

He said during the struggle his wife had fallen heavily backwards on to the floor with him landing on top of her.

He described the incident as being “such madness” and said he was pleading with his wife to give him the knife.

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

He said his wife was a strong woman for her size and she had been struggling frantically resulting in him gripping her right hand which was holding the knife.

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

“I wasn’t concentrating on that part of my body. I was concentrating on the threat which was on her right and in my left,” said Searle.

He said he didn’t remember using any force.

He said that eventually she had stopped struggling and he had got up and went into the conservatory to get a cigarette.

He put a bandage on the wound to his hand and looked at some minor wounds to his stomach and said he was expecting the argument with his wife to “kick off” again.

When nothing happened he thought she’d gone to bed and when he left the conservatory he found her lying in the floor in the living room where he’d left her.

With his voice breaking with emotion Searle described noticing that she was 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.

Asked by his barrister Steven Dyble: “ Did you intend to kill your wife of 45 years?” Searle replied: “ No sir I didn’t.”

Asked if had intended to cause her serious harm he replied: “No.”

Searle, 64, a former UKIP councillor, of Brickfields, Stowmarket, has denied murder.

Ipswich Crown Court has heard that Searle dialled 999 on December 30 last year 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 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 in June.

The trial continues.

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