8 years for banker who strangled unfaithful wife

A top City banker who strangled his unfaithful wife during a violent row after she asked for a divorce was today jailed for eight years.

Kate Ellerbeck, 46, died after a violent struggle with her husband at their £600,000 home in Enfield, north London, in November last year.

Neil Ellerbeck, 46, was found guilty of manslaughter on grounds of lack of intent by an Old Bailey jury, which cleared him of murder.

Judge Roger Chapple told him: "Your frustration erupted that morning when it became clear that your wife was serious about divorce and it was then that you applied sustained and deliberate pressure to her neck."



The judge added: "You are not generally and never have been a violent man. You achieved a great deal in your life.

"But it is plain to me that there was a darker side to your character - the secretive, obsessively jealous husband who spied on his wife, invaded her privacy and contributed substantially to her unhappiness in the final years of her life."

He described Ellerbeck as "a husband who knew divorce was coming and would go to almost any length to prevent that".

The judge said part of the reason for not wanting a split was to protect the couple's two children.

But there was also the "baser" motive, demonstrated by his attempt to squirrel away more than £500,000 of his fortune in secret accounts, of trying to protect his financial position, he said.

"It was that darker side of your character that boiled over on November 14."

The judge noted that Mrs Ellerbeck died in a struggle lasting up to 55 minutes that left 45 external injuries to her body, and that jurors had rejected her husband's claim to have acted in self-defence.

It was a "long and unequal eruption of violence" between Ellerbeck, standing 5ft 11in and weighing more than 15 stone, and his wife, a woman of 5ft 3in and little more than eight stone, he added.

"Her death was caused by sustained and continuous compression of the neck using moderate to severe force for 20 to 30 seconds, causing deep bruising through to the front of her spine."

Evidence showed the marriage was in "terminal decline", the judge said.

"It should have ended in separation and divorce," he said. "Tragically it ended in death."

He paid tribute to Mrs Ellerbeck's qualities as a "devoted mother" and said the couple's children "must now live with the traumatic knowledge that she was killed by their father".

Ellerbeck, who has already served 332 days in custody, was ordered to pay defence costs of £42,382 and half of the £50,000 prosecution costs.

The banker has a fortune of more than £1 million.



The judge accepted that what Ellerbeck did was out of character.

But he told the killer: "This was domestic violence. Your wife was subjected to violence in her own home, the very place she should feel safest of all."

Diana Ellis QC, defending, said there was no pre-meditation and there was no history of violence in the marriage.

She said Ellerbeck had an "exemplary work record" and was "not by nature a man prone to temper or violence or aggression".

"His own wife described him as a nice bloke trying to do his best in circumstances that proved difficult," said Miss Ellis.

The court heard that the Ellerbecks' son, aged 14, and daughter, 11, were now living with Susan Reed, the victim's sister, and had been visiting their father in prison about once a month.

There were plans for them to move back into the family home with their father's sister, who is in her sixties.

In a statement after the sentence, the victim's family said: "We are relieved that this is now all over and we can try to begin to rebuild our lives and look to the future.

"Once again we would like to thank our wonderful family and friends for all their love and support, the judge, and the police for their kindness to us all throughout this truly terrible time.

"We would very much appreciate it if everyone involved could now be left in peace to pick up the pieces of their lives as much as it is possible without our lovely Kate."

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?