RAF Squadron Leader Nicholas Tucker murdered his wife in a staged car accident after having an affair with a young Serbian translator he had met in Bosnia while serving as a UN observer, Norwich Crown Court was told yesterday.
Mr Tucker, a 44-year-old father of two teenage children, was "infatuated" with 21-year-old Dijana Dudakovic who was described as "very slim, very attractive with curly blonde hair". The prosecution claimed that it was this relationship which lay behind the killing of 52-year-old Carol Tucker.
After meeting Ms Dudakovic, the RAF squadron leader applied to extend his tour of duty in Bosnia, the court heard. He stayed with her at the RAF club in Piccadilly, London, after helping her to come to this country on a short visit, and then killed his wife by driving a car into the River Lark in Suffolk, the jury was told.
Following the incident, Squadron Leader Tucker maintained the car had swerved into the water when his wife grabbed the steering wheel to avoid hitting a herd of deer. He was rescued with minor grazing to the forehead, while Mrs Tucker's body was discovered face down under a bridge, where police officers failed to resuscitate her.
A Home Office pathologist, David Harrison, concluded that Mrs Tucker had bruising on the left side of her chest "consistent with recent finger pressure", grasp marks on her upper arm, and abrasions under her left arm. There were no marks on her neck, but the prosecution claimed that suffocation could have been caused "with a ligature like an armlock" or "fingers, not dug in".
The fatal crash took place on the evening of 21 July, 1995, after Mr and Mrs Tucker had been out for dinner at the Red Lion, near Honington, Suffolk. After leaving the pub, Mr Tucker claimed he missed a turning before being forced to drive into the river. He told detectives that he was driving at around 50mph at the time of the accident. But police calculations show that the car had been travelling at less than 31mph and it had slowed to around 10mph when it hit the river bed.
Mr Tucker, of Honington, Suffolk, denies murder.
The case continues.