Top banker convicted of killing unfaithful wife

By John-Paul Ford Rojas,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 05:01

A City banker who killed his unfaithful wife during a violent row was today found guilty of manslaughter.

Neil Ellerbeck, 46, attacked wife Kate during a struggle at the couple's £600,000 home in Enfield, north London, in November last year.

He showed little emotion as an Old Bailey jury cleared him of murder and convicted him instead of manslaughter on the grounds of lack of intent.

The court heard Ellerbeck had secretly been bugging more than 100 hours of her phone calls.

He was remanded in custody for sentence tomorrow.

Ellerbeck, chief investment banker at HSBC in Canary Wharf, discovered his wife had been involved in a passionate sexual relationship with tennis coach Patrick McAdam and also suspected affairs with two other men.

Prosecutors alleged that he strangled her after her indiscretions had become "all too much" for him.

But he told the court that he had given her a "decent shove" and pinned her down as she tried to attack him, and struck her after she bit his thumb.

He said that when he left the house after the row she was still alive, though panting and with blood on her lip, and when he returned she was lying at the foot of the stairs.

Ellerbeck called 999 and tried to revive her but it was too late.

At the time he killed his wife, the banker was working long hours as the City bore the brunt of the credit crunch and was drinking two bottles of wine a night.

Though he had a mistress himself he was said to have become "obsessive" about his wife's activities.

Realising he faced the end of the 14-year marriage, he feared the loss of his children and half of his £1 million fortune, and squirreled away more than £500,000 in secret accounts, the court heard.

Edward Brown QC, prosecuting, said: "The defendant is an ambitious and successful man. He had made a lot of money. His children were doing well. But he was a man with an obsessive and jealous nature.

"It is with this background, with all the heightened suspicions and jealousies, that the defendant killed his wife, her death very likely the culmination of a violent argument."

Ellerbeck, wearing a grey tie and grey suit, clenched his jaw and looked straight ahead as the verdicts were returned after a day's deliberation by the jury.