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Wife strangled in divorce row

A JEALOUS and obsessive Wirral man strangled his wife to death after she told him she wanted a divorce.

A JEALOUS and obsessive Wirral man strangled his wife to death after she told him she wanted a divorce.

John Bayley, 58, had denied murdering Barbara Bayley, 50, at their home in June Avenue, Bromborough.

But he admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and was made the subject of an indefinite hospital order.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Mrs Bayley, a mother-of-two, was found dead at their house after her husband walked into Bromborough police station and confessed to killing her.

Since then he has been a patient at the Scott Clinic at Rainhill Hospital, Liverpool.

Sentencing him, Judge David Clarke QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, said: 'You know, although you do not remember, that you did a terrible thing on that morning.

'You strangled and killed your beloved wife. Her life was needlessly lost and you robbed your son and daughter of their mother.

'lt is to your credit that you immediately handed yourself into the police and within hours you were in the clinic, where you have been treated with the greatest care and sympathy since.

'For some months before this terrible event you had been falling deeper and deeper into a severe depressive illness.

'The degree of illness substantially impaired your degree of responsibility for what you did.

'Your position worsened markedly when your wife dropped the bombshell of her wishes for the future and that she wanted a divorce. You had not seen the signs or been aware of her increasing unhappiness.'

He said it was clear Bayley needs continuing treatment for a mental illness which might take considerable time to cure.

Bayley, who took early retirement last March from his long-term employer, bakery ingredient manufacturers Arkady Craigmillar, in Bromborough, sat with his head bowed throughout the hearing.

His family were not present at his request.

Prosecutor Christopher Cornwall said the plea was acceptable in the light of reports from three psychiatrists.

Both sides of the family were also content with it.

When interviewed by police, Bayley admitted sole responsibility for his wife's death.

They had been married for 31 years and had two adult children, Adam and Sarah.

The court heard it had been a happy marriage until a month before her death when, following a difference of opinion between them about a remark made to Mrs Bayley by a work colleague, a rift was caused which was never healed.

Mrs Bayley moved into the spare bedroom and they lived entirely separate lives under the same roof. She made it clear she intended to seek a divorce.

Bayley said this development affected him very badly and he began to suffer panic attacks and feelings of anxiety and insecurity.

He pleaded with her to stay with him but she was adamant the marriage was over.

Bayley's last recollection was of going into her bedroom to plead for a final chance, which she rejected.

He insisted he had never used violence against her during the marriage and he loved her to such an extent, he could never have intended her any harm.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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