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
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
film
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried