Husband 'tried to kill wife in bath': Jury told of man's double life with mistress

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The Independent Online
A MAN wired his wife's bath to the electricity mains in a plot to kill her, claim pounds 500,000 insurance and start a new life with his mistress, a court was told yesterday.

The jury at Cardiff Crown Court was told that Peter Ellis, 34, rigged the bath to the mains electricity supply in the family home in the Rhiwbina area of the city in an attempt to kill his wife Lisa, 32.

Stephen Hopkins, for the prosecution, said: 'She was reading a magazine in the bath when she saw a blue flash. She felt a numbing sensation in her right leg, she panicked, screamed and jumped out of the water.'

He said: 'It was a miracle that she survived. If she had touched a towel rail, a tap or a central heating radiator she would have earthed the electric current. Instead the current passed through the water, melting the plug chain but not killing her.

'Ellis had tried to rid himself of his wife. The electrocution would have left no trace on her body and would have looked as if she had died from a heart attack.'

The court was told that Mr Ellis, who denies attempted murder, tried to blame the incident on his wife's own body static, but she decided to call police.

Mr Hopkins told the court how Mr Ellis met his wife through the church they both attended. He said: 'His good looks, charm and politeness impressed her. He was a property developer renting flats which enabled him to spend much of his time doing Christian voluntary work.' But Mr Hopkins alleged that Mr Ellis's 'real religion was hypocrisy, selfishness and deceit'.

The court was told that the marriage had been stormy, and Mr Ellis met another woman, Mary Francis, 40, who became his mistress.

Mr Hopkins said Mr Ellis kept the women unaware of each other.

He told Ms Francis he was seeking a divorce and lived with his grandmother. He also told her he had a stomach complaint which required frequent hospital stays.

'When he stayed with Mary, he would get up in the middle of the night saying he had a dog at home or he had to do his washing.

'Another time he told Lisa he was going abroad to do charity work in Yugoslavia and Bosnia. He said he would be away for two weeks. But most of that time was spent sunning it with his mistress in Ibiza. She was completely oblivious that he was daily lying to her. He said his marriage had been a mistake and was loveless.'

The trial continues today.