Thursday, September 09, 2010
Murdered After Finding Husband's Cheating on Facebook
By Liz Hull
A man strangled his new bride after she discovered he was having an affair, a court has heard.
Michael Roberts, 27, is then said to have concocted an elaborate charade to make it appear that Vicky, 25, his wife of five months, was still alive.
He sent text messages from her phone to her concerned family and friends, saying she had left him for another man.
Roberts even had a tearful dinner with her parents while her dead body lay in their two-bedroom apartment, it is alleged.
Police were called in to investigate, only for him to escape from under their noses. He slipped away when an officer began searching the garage in which he had dumped his wife's body in a duvet.
Roberts evaded capture for four days - staying in hotels under a false name - but then was spotted by a friend who alerted police.
Under questioning, he admitted killing Mrs Roberts, an accounts manager for a chemical company, but denied murder.
He claimed he had accidentally strangled her when a sex game went wrong.
Yesterday Roberts, who was described as devious and clever, went on trial for his wife's murder at Liverpool Crown Court.
David Steer, QC, prosecuting, told the jury that although Roberts and his wife, who had been together for less than three years, appeared to be the perfect couple the reality was different.
Roberts had cheated on his wife with two women before and after their wedding, in June last year and told friends he wanted a divorce.
He had a 13-month affair with Kerrie Hall, an administration boss at Phones4U, for whom Roberts was an assistant store manager.
She told police that Roberts liked rough sex and had twice tried to throttle her during intercourse, claiming it would make it more enjoyable.
Roberts had a second lover in Karen Wilson, who he met two months before his marriage and while still seeing Miss hall.
A month before she died - on November 29 last year - Mrs Roberts confronted her husband after becoming suspicious about his text messages and entries on Facebook.
He promised to be faithful but instead continued the relationship with Miss Wilson, telling her he had ended his marriage and moved in with his parents.
Phone records obtained by police, the court heard, revealed that the pair contacted each other more than 5,000 times.
On the night of Mrs Roberts's death the couple had dinner before returning to their £125,000 flat in Runcorn, Cheshire.
Roberts claimed they had sex, during which his wife asked him to tie the cord of a bath robe around her neck. He told police she went limp, fell on to her side and died.
Instead of dialing 999, Roberts, the court heard, embarked on an elaborate cover-up.
'What happened to Vicky was no accident during intercourse but a deliberate and determined strangulation with a ligature,' Mr Steer said.
'Because on previous occasions he had behaved in the way described by Kerrie Hall, he has decided to use that as part of his story ... and to pretend this was all a terrible accident.'
Within minutes of his wife's death Roberts called Miss Wilson and acted as if nothing had happened.
The couple spent the following day shopping and had sex in a hotel in Bangor, north Wales.
Roberts then started using his wife's phone to send texts to himself, her friends and parents, claiming she had walked out. he had dinner with his in-laws and joked with work colleagues that he couldn't have killed his wife because his car boot was too small to hold a body.
CCTV recovered from a supermarket and a DIY store showed Roberts buying bin bags, insulation sheets and duct tape, two days after the alleged murder.
He also got rid of his wife's clothes and bought silk sheets to prepare the former marital bedroom for his mistress.
After four days, Mrs Roberts's parents who were 'demented' with worry, became suspicious and reported their daughter missing.
Roberts fled the police and took a taxi to Asda in Liverpool, where he bought new clothes before checking himself into hotels in Chester, Nantwich and Wrexham over the next three days.
He threw his mobile phone into a canal and also sent a letter to Miss Wilson, telling her that he wanted to be with her 'and only her' for the rest of his life and that she was ' incredibly sexy with a stunning body'.
Mrs Roberts's handbag, which contained receipts of her husband's nights with Mrs Wilson, was discovered in the boot of his Toyota MR2, along with printouts of their Facebook conversations. Roberts denies murder. The trial continues.