Life sentence for policeman who killed wife: Sergeant who set up fake crash after truncheon assault was caught out by position of victim's car seat

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The Independent Online
A POLICE sergeant was yesterday sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife before faking a car crash to make her death look like an accident.

A jury at Caernarvon Crown Court took three hours and 35 minutes to convict Steven Jones, 34. He had claimed that the death of his wife, Madallin, 37, the mother of his two sons, was 'a tragic accident'.

He stared impassively as Mr Justice Kennedy, sentencing him, described it as a 'wicked, wicked offence'.

The court was told that Jones, of Ewloe in Clywd, was embroiled in a secret affair with a teenage barmaid. He had wanted rid of his wife but feared the cost of a divorce and the effect it might have on his promotion chances. He stood to gain pounds 60,000 in life assurance policies on her, the last taken out two months before the killing.

He lured her out of their house and into the garage, pretending her brother had suffered a heart attack. After killing her with a single blow from his truncheon, Jones - 6ft 1in tall and 19 stone - put a bin-liner over her head to stop any blood getting on his clothes or the floor.

Wearing his police riot helmet to protect himself from injury in the staged crash, Jones drove the body in her red Metro car to Tinkers Dale Wood, a lonely stretch of the A550, a mile-and-a-half from their home.

After driving down an embankment and into a tree, Jones walked to his Rover, which he had earlier parked near by while on duty.

But he made one vital mistake - colleagues who found Mrs Jones's body became suspicious because the driver's seat was set too far back for her to have been at the wheel. She was 4ft 11in tall. Although the windscreen was broken, forensic tests at the scene also revealed that her head injuries were inconsistent with a road accident.

His plot failed for a second reason - the crashed car was quickly spotted by a young couple who rang the police. When it was learnt to whom the car belonged, Inspector Gareth Jones went straight to Jones's home to comfort him. This allowed Jones no time to be alone and dispose of the evidence.

In the boot of his car, colleagues found his blood-stained riot helmet as well as a holdall containing the truncheon, which had traces of fresh blood on it.

Anthony Gee QC, for the prosecution, told the jury that the murder was cold-blooded, and carefully and deliberately planned, 'drawing in no small measure on his police experience'.

Sentencing Jones, the judge said: 'That woman did nothing to affront you. She did no wrong. She bore your children, she loved them and she no doubt loved you. You destroyed her life. You have not perhaps destroyed, but you have wholly undermined those boys' lives. It is quite plain there is only one person you love - that is yourself. The sentence is life imprisonment.'

Afterwards, David Owen, the Chief Constable of North Wales, said it was an appalling case and Jones, with 17 years' police service and stationed at Hawarden in Clwyd, had been rightly convicted.

'The investigation was carried out with a degree of thoroughness and impartiality, and this reflected highly on the professionalism and integrity of the police officers involved,' he said.

Jones was arrested only days after he had been hailed by the public as a hero for helping to rescue a woman from a frozen pond near his home.