A MAN who killed his wife with a hammer and screwdriver after she filed for divorce was jailed for life.
Neil Johnson, 54, murdered wife Debra on February 23 in their home in Moreton after the two argued.
Liverpool Crown Court heard how Johnson killed his 43-year-old wife by:
Hitting her over the head from behind once with a hammer before landing seven more blows with the weapon.
Smothering her with oven gloves.
Stabbing a screwdriver into her neck.
The couple’s two teenage children sat in the public gallery listening to the horrific details with other family members.
Nigel Power QC said that by February this year although the couple were in the same house, on Ternway, they were living almost separate lives and Mrs Johnson filed for divorce.
On the day of the murder Johnson went to the Santander bank to get papers from the pair’s joint account, only to find Mrs Johnson had taken steps to have his name removed from it.
Mrs Johnson’s niece, the court heard, then tipped off the victim that her estranged husband had been in.
When Johnson went home an argument broke out.
He later claimed to police he had been slapped by his wife during the argument before he launched the fatal attack.
He was the one who phoned 999 and admitted to the operator using a hammer on his wife.
She was found by police in a pool of blood at the foot of the stairs and died in hospital the next morning.
Stuart Driver QC, defending, told the court: “The defendant wishes to announce his remorse and his written letter to the court is a full apology.
“He says his wife didn’t deserve this and would not suggest for a minute that she did.
“He says he cannot imagine how many people’s lives he has ruined.”
Judge Clement Goldstone QC, Recorder of Liverpool, told him: “Her slap on your face doesn’t begin to justify or reduce the culpability of what you then did.
“The argument erupted into an explosion of violence.
“You picked up a hammer and launched a ferocious attack upon your wife.
“The first blow was from behind while she was in the process of leaving.
“It was as cowardly as it was wicked.”
He added: “Quite apart from the grave loss sustained by her sister, her parents and other family and friends you have deprived your children of their mother and that is something you will have to live with for the rest of your life.
“She to them will be irreplaceable. I hope they will excel in their lives and strive to achieve high standards in whatever they do in tribute to her memory.”
Johnson, who admitted murder, was told he will serve at least 15 years and 305 days in custody but will only be released after that term if the parole board decide he is no longer a danger to the public.