We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


British poker champion Marcus Bebb-Jones sentenced to 20 years in jail for murder of his wife 16 years ago


A British poker champion has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for the murder of his wife in America 16 years ago.

Marcus Bebb-Jones had denied killing his wife Sabrina in 1997 before dumping her body in a Colorado national park, but pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Yesterday he was sentenced to 20 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Colorado Judicial Department said.

The couple owned the Melrose Hotel in Grand Junction, Colorado, when Mrs Bebb-Jones disappeared.

Her skull was found in 2004 in a national park near Douglas Pass in north-west Colorado.

Professional gambler Bebb-Jones was arrested in 2009 in a raid at his home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, amid accusations he went on to spend thousands of dollars on her credit cards before botching a suicide bid.

The 49-year-old lost his appeal against extradition to the US in 2011 and was due to stand trial, but pleaded guilty at a hearing in the 9th Judicial District Court in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, in February.

District Attorney Sherry Caloia said Bebb-Jones had made a plea bargain, admitting murder in the second degree, blaming it on "heat of passion", in exchange for a sentence of no more than 20 years.