Stephen Searle

Cover: Facebook.

A former Royal Marine accused of murdering his wife as they allegedly rowed over his affair with their daughter-in-law said in a 999 call played to a jury: "I've just killed my wife".

Stephen Searle, 64, denies the murder of his 62-year-old wife Anne Searle and is on trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said Searle "probably" used a choke hold learned while serving as a Royal Marine to strangle her after a row at their home in The Brickfields, Stowmarket, Suffolk on December 30 last year.

In a 999 call played to the court on Monday, Searle told police: "I've just killed my wife".

Asked how he killed her, he said:

"Suffocation really. Bit of a bizarre situation, but never mind."

The call handler asks: "Are there just the two of you in the house?"

"Well, just the one of us now," he replies.

In the call made at 10.19pm, Searle said it happened "about an hour ago" and added he had considered going to sleep and calling police in the morning.

Mr Jackson said: "The prosecution say that his delay in reporting the killing and his consideration of further delay was to allow him time to concoct an explanation to hide the truth."

Searle, who says he was acting in self-defence, gave an account to police that his wife came at him with a knife causing a wound to his hand and three pinprick marks to his stomach.

In a prepared statement, Searle told officers: "I was in fear for my life and during the struggle this terrible accident happened."

A post-mortem examination recorded the medical cause of death as compression of the neck, noting that external bruising suggested the application of a hand or the crook of an elbow in a choke hold.

It said Mrs Searle would have lost consciousness after about eight to 15 seconds of pressure being applied to her neck. Mr Jackson said:

"Death, however, required further sustained pressure on her neck for a period of minutes."

Searle, who has three sons with his wife of 45 years, had had an affair with the partner of his son Gary, the court heard.

Anastasia Pomiateeva, 39, giving evidence from behind a screen, said she had children with Gary.

She said she first met Searle while he was a manager at the bowling alley where she worked in 2005, and she began a relationship with his son Gary around 2010.

Stephen Searle (Facebook)
Searle was also a former UKIP councillor, but lost his seat in Suffolk in the May elections last year (Picture: Facebook).

She said that last year the man invited her to the Suffolk County Council offices for a drink and she went with her one-year-old son.

"He showed me all round the place," said Ms Pomiateeva. "He was very proud to show me where he worked."

She said she went to Searle's office and he "asked me if I was happy with Gary and if I was getting enough sex" and then "said he wasn't happy and he wasn't getting any from Anne".

She said Searle would send her photos of him bodybuilding.

She showed Gary and he said "don't worry, dad's just drunk", she said, adding that Searle later sent her a photo of a sausage on a plate.

Ms Pomiateeva said she later had a sexual relationship with Searle.

He gave her the nickname SBG, Steve's Beautiful Girl and called his wife a "piece of shit", she said.

"He used to call me that too when I didn't please him," she said.

"He used to say it was the drink but he used to call me some nasty names as well."

She said the Searle family "loved their alcohol", adding: "The whole family, they drink like fish. Like I would drink water, they would drink beer."

Kelly Lawrence, a colleague of Mrs Searle at sushi producer Ichiban UK, told jurors on Tuesday that one day in August last year Mrs Searle "looked unhappy" and they had a conversation.

"She informed me that she found out that her husband was having an affair but at the time she didn't know if it was a male or female that he was having an affair with," Ms Lawrence said. "She said he had done it before but she wasn't sure what was going on at the time."

She said Mrs Searle had posted screenshots of text messages between her husband and the other party on Facebook, but later removed them.

"I think in the end she confronted him about it," Ms Lawrence said. "He admitted to it and said it was with their daughter-in-law."

The confrontation had ended in an argument, Ms Lawrence said, and Mrs Searle had smashed her husband's phone up.

She said that on another occasion she noticed bruising on Mrs Searle's arms, and Mrs Searle said it was caused by her husband.

"She had called the police but wasn't going to press charges against him," she said. "She wanted to make her marriage work and sort it out."

Asked what else Mrs Searle said, Ms Lawrence added:

"Only that she had been married for so long that she was too old to start again. She wanted to make it work."

Searle had been married to his wife for 45 years and they had three sons together.