Wife jailed for killing her husband

A JILTED wife who scorned her marriage vows with a "till death us do part" jibe before stabbing her unfaithful husband to death is today starting a life sentence for his murder.

A JILTED wife who scorned her marriage vows with a "till death us do part" jibe before stabbing her unfaithful husband to death is today starting a life sentence for his murder.

Rita Salmon, who had earlier slashed her husband Derek's car tyres, armed herself with a kitchen knife before storming round to her daughter's two months after the man she met as a love-struck teenager moved in with his mistress.

Then, the former army cookhouse supervisor ordered the "terrified" daughter to lure her father to the murderous confrontation she had planned.

Warning Tara Salmon that if she did not do as she was told her fiance would also die, she drew the kitchen curtains so "no-one can see".

At one stage the 54-year-old mother of two chillingly observed: "Till death us do part, so death do us part it will be".

Inner London Crown Court heard that seconds after powerfully built ex-soldier Derek Salmon, 55, walked through his daughter's front door, the wife he had betrayed attacked him.

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Screaming incoherently she plunged the razor sharp blade deep into his back before he had a chance to defend himself.

He fell to the floor "twitching" and crying in agony. Seriously injured he dragged himself to his feet and staggered into the back garden.

But his wife, still brandishing the blade, followed and once outside moved in for the kill, stabbing him repeatedly.

Mr Salmon, manager of the George Yard shopping centre in Braintree, and a leading figure in the local Chamber of Commerce collapsed again just inside the lounge patio doors. Then she leaned over her dying husband to deliver yet more blows in a "slow and deliberate fashion."

Salmon, of Shearing Walk, Colchester, had denied murder on July 28 last year, claiming that although responsible for a "terrible, horrifying" crime, she had not planned to kill him.

But the jury took just two hours to unanimously reject her protestations of mental illness and memory loss and convict her as charged.

In complete contrast to her displays of uncontrollable sobbing and hysteria during her trial, she remained emotionless as Mr Justice Bell told her: "You went round there with the intention of killing your husband. You made your daughter telephone him to induce him to come round and then you stabbed him nine times."

As if that wasn't enough, he added, she then tried to prevent paramedics treating him to make "as sure as you could that he was dead".

The court had heard the couple's marriage had been a "turbulent" one.

In March last year, she discovered the man she believed had been impotent for the previous decade had started an affair. Until then, said Salmon, she had thought that, despite its difficulties, the marriage was basically a happy one.

She agreed the 6ft 5in former soldier she met at 17 and married at 21, had occasionally attacked her, leaving her with a series of black eyes and other bruises, and once even broke her ribs.

"But I loved him," she told the court.

However, his infidelity, discovered after he accidentally left his mobile phone displaying his mistress's number, came like a bombshell.

Salmon branded her husband's lover, as "awful ... neither pretty nor slim".

"I felt devastated and discarded," the defendant recalled.

But unexpectedly her husband announced he wanted to give their marriage another chance, describing his unfaithfulness as a "big mistake".

Weeks later her hopes were dashed once more when she suspected he had taken his supposedly ex-mistress on a business trip.

She told the court that, shortly afterwards, in another of his violent outbursts, he tried to strangle her.

"He put his hands round my throat and told me he wanted me dead," she sobbed.

But he relented, and instead left to move in with his mistress.

The following day Salmon tried to overdose on tablets. Twenty four hours later she slashed her wrists. A third suicide bid followed after a few weeks.

The jury heard the day she resorted to murder, Salmon invited her daughter and her fiance Mark Padmore to a barbecue.

When they arrived they found her in a foul temper.

Salmon snatched up a knife and screamed: "Do you want me to f****** kill myself?" before hurling it in her daughter's direction.

The frightened couple left, taking the knife with them and hiding it in a nearby alley. They returned to their home in Victoria Gardens, Colchester.

Neither expected to see her again that day, but a couple of hours later, Salmon turned up, angry and swearing, clutching a bottle of Martini in one hand and a bag concealing what was to be the murder weapon in the other.

As the tension rose, the daughter noticed one of her own kitchen knives missing, but when she asked her mother where it was, received an "evil look".

Tara Salmon told the jury her mother ordered her to phone her father and persuade him to come round, warning that if she disobeyed, her boyfriend would be stabbed, making "more than one murder here tonight".

An hour later Mr Salmon arrived.

Tara Salmon said after the first blow she and her boyfriend fled their home to raise the alarm, her father's desperate appeal for an ambulance his last words to her.

An officer found Salmon her by her victim, a knife still in her hand, and refusing to let paramedics treat him.

"I don't want them to," she said. "We have been married 34 years. He has been going behind my back and I stabbed him ... I want him to die."

Salmon repeatedly insisted she had not planned to kill him, and denied "trying to pull the wool over the jury's eyes" with claims of numerous memory lapses that prevented her recalling the events of that fateful evening.

She maintained her mental illness and loss of self-control were really responsible for her husband's death.

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