US businessman stabs wife 23 times, court hears

Image caption,
Lucy Landry met her husband over the internet, the court heard

An American businessman stabbed his wife to death to stop her benefiting from their divorce, a court has heard.

Harold Landry, 64, denies murdering wife Lucy at their home near Pershore, Worcestershire.

The court heard he stabbed her 23 times and struck her with a granite rolling pin before leaving her to die in a hedge.

The prosecution said he had begun a relationship with another woman and resented paying out money for his wife.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court, prosecutor Rachel Brand, QC, said Mr Landry did not dispute he had killed his wife at the Besford Court estate but would claim he was guilty of manslaughter rather than murder.

'Will changed'

She told the jury Mr Landry and his wife, 25 years younger than him and originally from Pontypridd, Wales, first met over the internet.

Mr Landry, an engineer, then travelled to the UK to meet her and the couple eventually married.

By August 2009 their relationship had soured, Mrs Landry had begun another relationship and divorce proceedings had begun.

Miss Brand said Mr Landry changed his will to make sure Mrs Landry received nothing.

She also said that shortly before her death, Mr Landry had talked about selling a coin and stamp collection and told a neighbour that he had not wanted to give Mrs Landry any money.

The neighbour, Stephen Kennedy, had been at the Landry's home on 1 February, the day of the killing, to collect a parcel and had heard the Landrys making "various unpleasant comments".

He left their home at 2250 GMT but later heard Mrs Landry screaming, the court heard.

The court then heard that Mr Kennedy went outside and found Mrs Landry with a knife sticking out of the side of her body and no pulse.

Miss Brand said the defendant chased his wife through their house and into the garden before stabbing her 23 times.

Bundle of cash

Mr Landry, who was wearing a dressing gown during the attack, is then said to have driven to his new partner's cottage to tell her "something awful" had happened.

When he arrived at the property, Miss Brand said he gave his new partner three banker's drafts for a total of £30,000, a bundle of cash, as well as the keys to his car and several signed blank cheques.

He subsequently set off to walk back to his home but was arrested by police before he got there.

The trial was then adjourned.

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