Suffolk

UKIP councillor murder trial: Stephen Searle had affair

Steve Searle Image copyright Facebook
Image caption UKIP member Stephen Searle was elected to Suffolk County Council in 2013

A former UKIP councillor strangled his wife to death after she discovered he was having an affair with their son's partner, a court has heard.

Stephen Searle, 64, denies murdering Anne Searle, who was found suffocated at their home in The Brickfields, Stowmarket, Suffolk, on 30 December.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said the discovery of the affair "would have put considerable strain on the marriage".

Ipswich Crown Court jurors were told Mr Searle said he acted in self-defence.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Anne Searle was found dead at home in Stowmarket minutes after police took a call from Mr Searle, the court heard

Mr Jackson said Mr Searle, a former Royal Marine and Suffolk county councillor, had been working at a bowling alley with his son Gary.

Gary Searle was in a relationship with his colleague Anastasia Pomiateeva and the couple "had children but never married", the court heard.

Stephen Searle began an affair with Ms Pomiateeva in April last year and kept it hidden, but the rest of the family found out about it in June.

Mr Jackson said: "The prosecution case is that on that Saturday night [30 December] there had probably been yet another row between the two of them and in anger the defendant strangled his wife to death."

'I've killed my wife'

The court heard the defendant and his wife had been married for 45 years and had three sons.

The prosecution said Mr Searle had trained in unarmed combat with the Royal Navy and knew how to perform a choke hold.

"It's that technique the prosecution say the defendant probably used to kill his wife," said Mr Jackson.

He told the court the defendant had called police to say "I've just killed my wife" and that Mrs Searle had posted a message on Facebook which said "Happy Christmas... I hope I will still be here in 2018. We will see".

The trial continues.

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