Cheating newlywed murdered wife, court told

A cheating newlywed murdered his wife after just five months of marriage and conducting two affairs behind her back, a court heard today.

Michael Roberts, 26, strangled wife Vicky after she learned of his infidelities, a jury was told.

Roberts, an assistant manager at a Phones 4U store, and Mrs Roberts, 25, married on June 21 last year after a three-year romance.

But on November 29, a day before he was due to see his mistress, he killed her, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Roberts cheated on his wife before and after they were married, said David Steer QC, prosecuting.

"To many people, and in particular to their respective families, they appeared to be the perfect couple but sadly the reality was altogether different," said the barrister.

Roberts, who denies murder, began an affair with colleague Kerrie Hall, several months before getting married.

The jury of eight men and four women heard that a week after tying the knot he visited her flat and had taken off his wedding ring.

Ms Hall, who knew Roberts was married, told murder squad detectives their relationship was "purely a sexual one" and that he "liked it rough".

She said on occasions Roberts had choked her during sex making her "panic and pull away from him telling him to 'get off"'.

The choking bruised her neck, said Mr Steer, who told the jury Roberts had once bitten Ms Hall's nipple so hard it was left swollen and bruised.

She sent a mobile phone picture to Roberts showing him the damage.

He allegedly replied saying the photograph "really turned me on".

In April 2009, two months before his wedding, Roberts met Karen Wilson, a sales assistant at Phones 4U.

They began an affair and in October they spent the night together at a hotel after a work outing to Chester races.

By the end of that month, Mrs Roberts, who was "besotted" with her husband, suspected he was having an affair.

She found Facebook conversations between him and Ms Wilson and evidence on his mobile phone.

A few weeks before her death, the defendant and his wife were sleeping in separate rooms of their home in Partington Square, Runcorn, Cheshire.

On November 15, Roberts accompanied his lover to the christening of a colleague's baby in Mold, North Wales.

"The defendant asked colleagues not to post photos of him on Facebook as Vicky had no idea that he was at the christening," said Mr Steer.

The victim told her friend, Lorraine Lee, "that she was not going to give up on him and wanted to work it out".

Mr Steer said: "Time and again this is an indication of how she was trying her best to overcome the problems between them."

The strain was showing on Mrs Roberts, an account manager for Runcorn-based Banner Chemicals, as her performance at work dropped and she was called in for an appraisal.

Roberts admits killing his wife but claims her death was accidental during a sex game in which he throttled her.

On the day of her death, there were 244 mobile phone contacts between Roberts and Ms Wilson - he was even texting her while he and his wife had dinner at his parents' house.

Between November 2 and December 4 there were more than 5,000 mobile phone contacts between them.

Ms Wilson was under the impression he and his wife had split up.

After dinner that Sunday evening, the couple walked home to their new build flat.

Roberts, who cried and kept his head down in the dock throughout today's appearance, eventually told police his wife put a bathrobe cord round her own neck while they were having sex and "on several occasions she asked him to pull it tighter".

Mr Steer said: "He ejaculated inside her and waited for her to climax but instead she appeared to go limp and fall onto her side.

"He turned her over onto her back.

"Her arms were twitching.

"He finally removed the tie cord from her neck.

"He heard a noise like air escaping.

"This was the last breath she ever took.

"After this he cowered in the corner of the room."

Just hours later Roberts and Ms Wilson had four phone conversations lasting, 34, 27, 55, and 17 minutes.

She did not notice anything different about him, said Mr Steer, adding: "By this time his wife was dead and hence he was able to speak on the phone and he was clearly behaving as if nothing had happened."

He signed off for the night with a text to his lover, stating: "Good night beautiful, sweet dreams xx".

Roberts spent the next few days covering his tracks by sending texts from his wife's phone and concocting a story, said the prosecutor.

On the Monday, Roberts created text conversations between himself and his wife.

He also went shopping with Ms Wilson and their friend Lavinia Tolley to Chester, where he phoned his mother-in-law to ask what his wife wanted for Christmas.

Roberts and his lover dropped Miss Tolley off in the evening and went for dinner at a pub near Mold.

The licensee told police they were "loved up" and "all over each other kissing and touching".

Mr Steer said: "The defendant's appetite was certainly not affected by the tragic loss of his wife.

"The couple ordered main meals and desserts."

The next day, Tuesday, Roberts arrived late for work and told his boss that Mrs Roberts had left him for someone else.

He was later caught on CCTV at an Asda store buying refuse bags and sponges, and at B&Q purchasing silver insulation sheets and duct tape.

On the Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, the prosecutor said Roberts moved his wife's wrapped body from their top floor flat to their garage where he covered it with a duvet.