Mr Fuad QC and Ms Bignall both of Church Court Chambers represented Mr T.P who accused of the Murder of his wife and Arson with intent to endanger his family and an alternate count of reckless Arson.
After a 13 day trial before the Common Serjeant of London, the jury found him guilty of murder, not guilty of Arson with intent, but guilty of reckless arson.
The jury had been 2 days in deliberation.
He was sentenced to a life sentence with a minimum term of 25 years’ imprisonment. He received a 7 year concurrent sentence for the reckless arson.
Their client was alleged to have strangled his wife and forced a flannel deep down the back of her throat whilst she was alive. The prosecution (and pathology evidence) strongly suggested he then dragged her across the floor, removing clumps of her hair (which were found in the hall way and bedroom), locked her in a bedroom and set her body (her head and private parts) and two rooms in the house on fire. Fire experts gave evidence as to it “having to be a deliberate setting of different fires in rooms.”
His three children were prosecution witnesses against him saying he had dragged their mother across the floor from one room to another in which her body was found.
T.P maintained that he was in fact dragging a suitcase not his wife, and the killing and lighting of the three separate fires was an accident. He could not explain why he lit fire so close to her private parts, but said “it was spiritual like a séance.”
When a neighbour, the deceased’s 80 year old parents and the refuse men came to the burning house to assist, he claimed many times over (and was captured on body worn footage) that his wife was not in the house but had “gone for a walk.” He verbally and physically pushed people out of the house refusing to let them into the bedrooms.
He told the police that he had lit candles to “lighten the mood” and that the bite injuries which matched her teeth on his hand (a piece of his skin was later found), putting the flannel deep in her mouth, were caused by their pet dog. Other injuries to his face were caused; “when shaving.”
Three weeks before the killing he had set up life insurance for the maximum payable to him upon his wife’s death of £310,000 and was also to benefit from her pension. The jury also heard of two earlier separate but unproven reports of him assaulting her, once by attempting to strangle her.
He said in evidence that it was “a shame” she was dead.
In evidence he said he was in shock and was attacked by his wife first who had kicked him to his knee, having initially given a “no comment” interview.
Mr Fuad QC and Ms Bignall were instructed by Chanelle Wray of Dexter Henry Solicitors