A jeweller whose clients have included Donald Trump and Yoko Ono has been convicted of murdering his wife by incinerating her in an oil drum. Werner Lippe, 68, of Cortlandt, New York, had confessed to the killing three times, but then recanted. He stood trial in February, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Jurors at the retrial in Westchester County Court asked to hear each of Lippe's recorded confessions. On one – by a friend wearing a police wire – Lippe said of his wife Faith: "She doesn't exist anymore. They can't find her."
The Lippes were in the midst of a divorce when Faith disappeared.
Lippe had confessed to knocking out his wife on 3 October 2008, then burning her body in a backyard "burn barrel". Police saw the barrel early in the investigation, but it disappeared before Lippe was arrested. No trace of his wife was ever found.
When the verdict was read out, Lippe showed no emotion, but friends and relatives of his 49-year-old victim smiled and embraced.
"We now have closure that will allow us to stop dwelling on Faith's death and start celebrating her life," said Shari Caradonna, the victim's cousin.
In February she had told the media: "We will be back and will make sure Werner Lippe stays behind bars."
The Lippes children, a 16-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy, gave evidence against their father.