Hereford & Worcester

Worcestershire husband jailed for killing wife

A man who texted two other women with messages of affection on the day he killed his wife of nearly 26 years has been jailed for life.

Jonathan Palmer, 52, had denied killing 57-year-old Melinda at their home in Wadborough in Worcestershire on 22 December.

He was found guilty of murder at Worcester Crown Court and told he would serve at least 18 years.

Afterwards, police said he had a "callous disregard" for people.

Det Ch Insp Daryn Elton, of West Mercia Police, said Palmer had continually changed his story, including during the trial.

He said Palmer's responses to police during the investigation and to questioning during the trial demonstrated "a huge capacity for lies and deceit at the expense of his deceased wife's family".

"But his callous disregard for the feelings of others did not stop there.

"There are two other innocent women from the three years leading up to the death of Mrs Palmer who were beguiled and then betrayed by the man they both first came into contact with through a website, one of whom believed they had a future life together," he said.

He said he texted both his lovers with "messages of affection" on the day Mrs Palmer was murdered.

"Perhaps, most damning of all, Palmer made a 120-mile round trip to Nottinghamshire to take one of them Christmas shopping knowing that his wife of nearly 26 years lay dead at his hand," he said.

One of his lovers, from Surrey, was given many reasons as to why he could not visit her - he led her to believe he was fireman working in Germany.

As part of his defence Palmer said neither relationship was important to him, despite texting one of the women referring to her as "Mrs Palmer-to-be".

Police said she had loved him and thought their relationship was a "fairy tale come true".

The court heard that Palmer told detectives his wife had been killed by a burglar.

'Secret phone'

But Palmer had repeatedly struck her head with a blunt instrument after he was caught with a secret phone which he used to contact the other women.

Judge Robert Juckes QC said the attack had been savage and brutal.

"Your were lying to the two deeply unfortunate women with whom you were conducting an affair, you had convinced both of them that you were a single man," he said.

Melinda Palmer's family issued a statement saying the sentence reflected the crime.

They thanked police and everyone involved in getting the case to court.

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