British nanny helps convict man who murdered Wall Street banker financier

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The Independent US

At the end of a sensation-filled trial that turned in part on devastating testimony from a British nanny, a former electrician has been convicted of bludgeoning to death a wealthy Wall Street financier.

At the end of a sensation-filled trial that turned in part on devastating testimony from a British nanny, a former electrician has been convicted of bludgeoning to death a wealthy Wall Street financier.

Danny Pelosi, whose almost cocky demeanour cracked only when the verdict was read, was found guilty of killing Theodore Ammon in 2001. He will be sentenced next month and faces 25 years to life in prison.

The nanny, Kathryn Mayne, 59, was one of three witnesses who testified to jurors at the three-month trial in Riverhead, Long Island, about instances when Pelosi bragged that he had committed the murder. A former mistress made the same contention.

Prosecutors said after the verdict that it was probably a last-minute decision by Pelosi, 41, to take the stand in his own defence that finally sank him. Janet Albertson, an assistant district attorney, said: "He came across like he was - an anti-social criminal personality who takes no responsibility."

Laced with the ingredients of an airport novel - greed, violence, doomed romance, social climbing and betrayal - the trial drew intense public scrutiny from the day it opened in October. When the jury came back with the verdict after 24 hours, even Pelosi's mother was unable to get a seat in court.

Mr Ammon, 52, a socialite who was chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Centre and had homes in Manhattan, East Hampton and England, was murdered early on 21 October 2001. He was in the midst of a bitter divorce from Generosa Ammon, from whom he was estranged.

Prosecutors described how Pelosi, who was romantically involved with Ms Ammon, had killed the banker to gain access to a fortune of about $46m (£23m). Soon after his death, Pelosi and Ms Ammon married and fled to England. They lived with the nanny and twin children adopted by the Ammons in a family estate called Coverwood, in Cranleigh, Surrey.

The marriage soon soured and the couple returned separately to the United States. Ms Ammon died last year from cancer and left $1m to the nanny as well as her own Hampton house, on condition that she took charge of raising the children. Pelosi received $2m in a post-nuptial agreement.

On the stand last month, Ms Mayne said that Pelosi, from Long Island, had confronted her one day and bragged "about how he had beaten and beaten him and how Ted had begged for his life". She said: "It was just horrendous and I was very scared. He was trying to frighten me."

The nanny, who is negotiating a settlement with Mr Ammon's sister, Sandra Williams, over who should have final custody of the twins, also testified that Pelosi became bitter about his new wife as their marriage disintegrated and money arguments broke out. She said he told her: "I gave this woman money. I killed her husband and she won't give me a few hundred thousand dollars."

Pelosi, who had installed a security system at the East Hampton mansion where the murder took place, closed his eyes and sank into his seat when the verdict was read.

Gerald Shargel, his lawyer, said his client had been convinced he would cleared. The defence had contended that Pelosi had been 40 miles away when the murder took place. They intimated that Mr Ammon had hours before had a tryst on a local gay beach and a male lover might have murdered him. They also suggested his wife could have been the killer.

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