Whistle-blower 'plotted to have his wife murdered': Man who exposed drugs firm in 1973 'wanted life insurance money'

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STANLEY ADAMS, who exposed illegal price-fixing by a major international drugs company, plotted to have his wife murdered by a contract killer so that he could claim pounds 500,000 life insurance, it was alleged yesterday.

Bristol Crown Court was told that he offered pounds 10,000 to Tony Cox, a mercenary who replied to a magazine advertisement he had placed, if he would carry out the killing. He told Mr Cox that he was 'an intermediary for someone who wanted to end the suffering of a woman relative with terminal cancer'.

Brian Lett, for the prosecution, told the court that the intended victim was actually Mr Adams' wife Deborah, and that the defendant arranged to have her shot dead while they were on holiday on the Greek island of Kos last year.

Mr Adams, 66, unemployed, of Chilthorne Domer near Yeovil, Somerset, pleads not guilty to soliciting Mr Cox to murder his wife. He was arrested last year after a meeting with the intended hitman who had told the police about the plan.

In 1973 Mr Adams revealed to the European Commission that Hoffman-La Roche, the giant Swiss- based drugs company for which he worked, was breaching Common Market regulations by price fixing.

But the EEC told Hoffman-La Roche he was their source and when he visited Switzerland he was arrested for breaching trade secrets. Although he was released his first wife committed suicide while he was in jail. He received pounds 200,000 compensation from the Commission. He came to Britain in 1981 and married his present wife, a freelance editor, 43. Mr Lett told the court the couple had financial problems.

The court was told that in July 1992 Mr Adams placed an advertisement in a magazine called Overseas Jobs Express asking for CVs from 'experienced mercenaries interested in carrying out a confidential mission'. He later said he was researching a book on mercenaries. Mr Cox replied, the prosecution said, and Mr Adams got in touch, saying that the people he claimed to be acting for would pay pounds 10,000 'for a job which would take about five minutes'. The original plan was to shoot the woman while she was on holiday in Italy and make it look like a robbery.

However, in October 1992 Mr Adams was hurt in a road accident and had to cancel a holiday he and his wife would have taken in Italy. He spent nearly two months in hospital which delayed further plans but steadily built up the number of life insurance policies the couple held.

Mr Cox told the police who monitored letters and phone calls between the two men. They agreed the murder should be carried out in Kos last June, the court was told.

Mr Adams booked a holiday for himself and his wife on the island, paid Mr Cox pounds 400 in advance and sent him a description of the victim, which matched that of Mrs Adams.

The case continues.