Margaret Howlett: Husband murdered wife in gambling row

David Pawluk, Margaret HowlettImage source, GMP
Image caption,
David Pawluk married Margaret Howlett in 2017 but the pair began to argue over money and ownership of the marital home

A "controlling" husband who stabbed his wife to death after a dispute over gambling debts and a mortgage has been jailed for life.

David Pawluk, 59, married Margaret Howlett in 2017 and the pair planned to buy a bungalow after selling her home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

But the relationship "quickly deteriorated" and Pawluk stabbed his wife following a row, police said.

At Manchester Crown Court he was jailed for at least 16 years and eight months.

The court heard how taxi driver Pawluk, of Alexander Street, Castleton, met Ms Howlett as a regular at the bookmakers where she worked.

However, friends of Ms Howlett soon became concerned Pawluk, who admitted murder, was exhibiting controlling behaviour.

In March, she confided in a friend that she no longer loved Pawluk and had only £4,000 left of her £24,000 savings.

'Brutally murdered'

In the days before the murder, a fellow worker at the betting shop noted Pawluk had lost hundreds of pounds on bets, the court was told.

Pawluk also texted a friend saying he needed a solicitor to arrange a divorce, and was not named on the deeds of the house they lived in on Alexander Street, Rochdale.

On 10 April a witness heard Pawluk shouting at Ms Howlett inside the house, calling her a liar. The witness said it sounded like "he was going to kill her".

Two days later Pawluk handed himself in at Rochdale Police Station and said he had stabbed his wife in the kitchen.

Officers found her body. She had suffered a number of stab wounds to her neck.

Senior investigating officer Duncan Thorpe, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Pawluk brutally murdered an innocent woman who he had married only months earlier.

"What began as a happy marriage quickly deteriorated. The couple argued over his gambling problems and ownership of the marital home.

"In the short time they were together, it is clear that Pawluk was very controlling. His behaviour escalated and resulted in tragic consequences."

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