Chef who tried to kill fiancee jailed

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A chef was yesterday jailed for eight years for attempting to murder his bride-to-be and mother of his two children to benefit from her life insurance.

Andrew McNeill, 31, tried to throttle Paula Kew with her scarf as she returned home from visiting her parents to show them her wedding dress, the Old Bailey was told.

"You lay in wait for the woman you were to marry two months on and you strangled her close to death," said Judge Peter Beaumont. He added that the evidence that McNeill's motive had been for financial gain was "compelling".

McNeill had only failed to kill her because of the "fortuitous" arrival of her sister-in-law at their house in Camberley, Surrey. Miss Kew told the court that all she remembered of the attack was seeing McNeill's lips moving as she lay on the bathroom floor. "But I could not hear him. As far as I was concerned I was dead."

The prosecution had told the court McNeill had financial problems and was in debt.

McNeill had denied attempted murder on 12 February last year. Two months earlier he had taken out life assurance policies to provide more than pounds 15,000 a year in the event of his of Ms Kew's death. The couple were due to marry in April.

When arrested, McNeill allegedly told police he had arrived home to find the children screaming in the car outside the house. The front door was ajar and his fiancee's body was blocking the hallway.