Wife jailed for contract killing of private eye

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The Independent Online
When Barry "the bastard" Trigwell was found bludgeoned to death in a half-filled bath at his home in the West Midlands, a colleague of the private investigator suggested that the killer could be any one of about 50 people.

Mr Trigwell, 44, appeared to have excelled at making enemies around the world during his career as a private eye. One of his specialities was snatching "tug of love" children for money, as well as developing unhealthy connections with underworld figures. At first the police had almost too many prime suspects to the murder.

One person few suspected of being responsible was his wife of less than a year, Anne, who was 6,000 miles away in South Africa when the murder took place.

But yesterday, Ethel Anne Trigwell, 43, was jailed for life for hiring two South African hitmen to assassinate her husband. The reasons were the oldest ones in the book - sex and money.

Passing sentence at Birmingham Crown Court, Mr Justice Nelson said: "The jury have convicted you of murder. This was cold, calculated offence. A chilling murder."

The fantastical tale of murder and deceit began shortly after the couple married. Mrs Trigwell began making frequent visits to South Africa, apparently to visit her daughter. In fact, she was seeing her former lover, Jan Burger.

She soon became interested in the pounds 400,000 she would inherit on the death of her husband. To that end, she paid a Johannesburg nightclub owner pounds 15,000 for a contract killing, the court heard. Two men were hired and dispatched to Britain.

In February last year, Mr Trigwell was found at the couple's home in Sutton Coldfield.

However, Mrs Trigwell was overheard planning the hit by the wife of the nightclub owner - a brothel-keeper - planning the hit and told the court of a meeting between Trigwell and the two hitmen, Loren Sundkvist and Paul Ras.

Det Supt Ken Evans, who led the murder inquiry, said he hoped to bring back the two alleged hitmen before a British court. He described Trigwell as "a hard, cold and callous woman".