Man accused of killing wife tells of gang ordeal

A man charged with murdering his wife choked back tears yesterday as he told a court how he returned home to find her being held at knifepoint by a gang of vicious masked robbers.

Gordon Wardell, 42, denies murdering Carol, 39, a building society manager, at their home in Meriden, Warwickshire, in September last year before allegedly faking a raid at her branch and concocting a charade of being knocked out by the raiders who took his wife and killed her.

Wardell told the jury at Oxford Crown Court that he got home at 10pm after a drink to find his wife being held hostage.

His his voice faltered as he broke down and said: "Nothing seemed unusual. I thought Carol had gone to bed as she was suffering from period pain.

"As I got in my arms were grabbed from both sides and then forced up my back. There was a cloth put across my face and nose.

"My knees were kicked from behind me. I was down on the floor and the light came on and I could see Carol and the man on the edge of the settee.

"He said to me: 'Do what you are told. Keep quiet and get down on the floor.'

He says he woke up the next morning to find himself alone, bound and gagged. "My legs felt as if rods had been forced under the skin. I was scared, frightened and worried."

He claims that was the condition police found him in 14 hours after he returned home. He was then taken to hospital where he was later told his wife was dead.

Asked about the effect of attending a news conference in the hunt for his wife's killer two days later, Wardell said it had been traumatic and he had found it easier to go in in a wheelchair than walk unaided.

He denied his limp after the incident was faked to impress insurance staff from the Woolwich where his wife worked.

Asked finally by his counsel if he had killed his wife, Wardell's voice raised and he answered: "Absolutely not".

The case continues.

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