Man given five years for plot to kill wife

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A "middle-aged, middle- class, middle-minded" wife-beater who hired a hitman to kill his spouse after she left him was jailed for five years yesterday.

The Old Bailey was told Ian Glaubes, 45, used to beat his wife, Jane, 43, with a cane or tennis shoe up to three times a week over an eight-year period. When she left him in 1999, Glaubes was furious she had custody of their two daughters and that he had to share an inheritance and property with her.

He told a work colleague he wanted him to find a contract killer – but the colleague went to the police. An undercover officer then posed as a hitman.

Glaubes handed over £2,500 as a downpayment for the £5,000 contract while the officer taped their conversations. Glaubes said he wanted his wife "topped", adding: "There is no alternative but to do her."

At the last minute, Glaubes called it off, saying he wanted more time. He and his wife had begun talking again. The couple married in 1990, but the relationship changed when his mother died the following year, the court was told. "He became distant, impatient, domineering and difficult to communicate with. He was physically violent on a weekly basis," Simon Smith, for the prosecution, said.

After their second daughter was born in 1994, the beatings became more frequent. Mrs Glaubes obtained a non-molestation order in 1998, but the couple reunited. The beatings continued until she left and began divorce proceedings.

Glaubes, a health andsafety officer from Stanmore, north-west London, admitted soliciting to murder.

Judge Graham Boal told Glaubes he accepted "at the end you did appear to have had second thoughts about whether this terrible crime should be carried to its dreadful conclusion".

Ian Macdonald QC, for Glaubes, said: "This is an aberration by a middle-aged, middle- class, middle-minded man who could not cope with the combined pressures of his work and matrimonial breakdown."