Man jailed for strangling wife

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The Independent Online

An abusive husband who strangled his wife as their four children slept was jailed indefinitely today after a judge ruled he was a danger to women.

Ronald Tyler, 47, who throttled 40-year-old Julie McKinley on December 31 last year, was told he must serve at least eight years in jail.

Tyler, of Finsbury Park, north London, was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter by reason of provocation by an Old Bailey jury.

He claimed in his trial that he had killed his wife after she told him that their 22-month-old son was not his own.

Tyler had been convicted of a series of attacks on her in the past and had been released from a prison term for one of them just two months before he killed her.

Psychiatrists found he was subject to an "untreatable" emotional instability or "dissocial personality" disorder, characterised by "bursts of intense anger or behavioural explosions", the Old Bailey heard.

Tyler was said to have been "obsessively jealous" of his wife, whom he killed after she returned home late from a party - and had tried to strangle previously in January 2004.

Judge Jeffrey Pegden told him: "You held the power in the relationship and the deceased frequently relented and took you back after your violent and threatening behaviour."

He gave Tyler an indeterminate sentence for public protection, telling him he posed a significant risk of "serious harm" to members of the public, in particular "any female you are in a relationship with".

The court heard that the couple's baby son was asleep in the room where Tyler strangled his wife, and their three other children were also in the flat.

He then went out drinking for hours before ringing 999 and giving the address.

Tyler told the operator: "You'll find there's a body there but be careful because there's four children asleep as well."

Police found Ms McKinley lifeless and naked in the bed where she had been killed and the baby asleep in the cot.

Her eight-year-old daughter, who was in another room with her two sisters aged six and four, shouted "She's in there" when officers arrived.

The court heard that the couple had been together for 16 years and married for three, and Ms McKinley also had a daughter from a previous relationship.

Her sister, Jacqueline McKinley, spoke of the "devastating" impact that her death had on her children, who "adored and idolised" her. They are now being looked after by foster parents.

The court heard that Tyler had convictions for 44 separate offences since 1977, 14 of which were for violence or threatening and abusive conduct - four of them involving his wife.

There were also 20 other reports that she made to police between 1996 and 2009 alleging violent or abusive behaviour but she did not pursue them.

Tyler would later admit to having "slapped" three other women during three previous "turbulent" relationships.

In November 2008 he was convicted of common assault against his wife and given a suspended sentence.

He had told her: "If you stop me seeing my kids, I will finish you off."

After breaching the suspended sentence he was given a 52-week jail term in July last year but was released just three months later.

Michael Shorrock QC, prosecuting, said: "This defendant was obsessively jealous of Julie and had a violent temper, particularly when in drink."

The court heard that domestic violence and alcohol treatment programmes in the past had failed.

Sentencing Tyler today, the judge said: "At the time of the killing you lost your self-control. That was caused by the deceased saying the baby was not your son and she had been with someone else.

"Those words, coupled with your personality disorder, made your reaction immediate, sudden and extreme, and you strangled your wife. She was naked in bed and had no chance to defend herself.

"You regained your self-control extremely quickly. You kissed your children goodbye and then left to get alcohol and you stayed on the streets drinking.

"You did not call the emergency services until the early hours of the morning when you thought the children would be waking up to find their mother dead."

The judge told Tyler he would remain in custody as long as he was considered a danger to the public and if released would be on licence for at least 10 years.