Man who bludgeoned wife to death sentenced to life imprisonment

David Pomphret
David Pomphret

A "quiet man" who bludgeoned his wife to death with a crowbar in a "frenzied" attack has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years before parole.

Bespectacled computer expert David Pomphret, 51, battered wife Ann Marie, 49, with the weapon, striking her more than 30 times over the head at the stables where they kept horses near their home in Winwick, Cheshire, last November 2.

Pomphret protested his innocence but was "undone" after a speck of blood on his socks showed he was present at the crime scene.

He then changed his story, claiming a "special defence" of a temporary loss of control due to his "volatile" wife's behaviour.

The Barclays Bank IT worker was convicted of murder last Friday after a two-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Passing sentence, Judge David Aubrey told Pomphret he had meticulously tried to cover his tracks and may well have got away with this murder but added: "You forgot to change your socks.

"It was a web of deceit and lies. In my judgment you are an accomplished liar.

"She had defensive injuries to both her hands. She must have been pleading and begging for you to stop.

"You had had enough of her, saw the opportunity that presented itself that night to kill her and did so."

Pomphret had dialled 999, saying he had found his wife, mother of their only child, Megan, 18, lying in a pool of blood, "very dead", adding: "There is brain and blood everywhere, and it looks like she has had her head beaten in."

He initially protested his innocence and was released on bail, with lawyers saying Pomphret believed he had committed the "perfect murder".

But he was re-arrested after police found his wife's "airborne blood" on his socks, a "huge mistake" which put him at the scene of the crime, the court heard.

During the trial the defendant told the jury: "One of Marie's favourite TV programmes was CSI and one of the things they always said is you can't get rid of blood."

He then had to change his story, the jury was told, and admitted manslaughter, tearfully telling the court he "killed the woman I loved".

Instead, he blamed his wife's behaviour, which Judge Aubrey said he had "grossly misrepresented".

Pomphret, a former civil servant, claimed to be at "breaking point", the jury was told, after suffering years of violence and abuse from his "volatile" wife during their 22-year marriage.

He bludgeoned her to death but claimed to remember nothing of the attack.

Pomphret then washed the blood off his hands, threw the crowbar in a pond and burned and discarded bloodstained clothes. But he had failed to get rid of his socks, which would "come back to haunt him", the jury heard.

Gordon Cole QC, prosecuting, told the jury it was a "huge mistake" placing him at the crime scene. He had then tried to "pull the wool" over the jury's eyes by claiming he simply lost control with his wife.

The trial heard that the couple met on Mrs Pomphret's 21st birthday and were "happily married" with one daughter.

But, over the course of their nearly 30-year relationship, his wife's physical and mental health deteriorated, the jury heard. Mrs Pomphret had a number of issues, including being on the autism spectrum, suffering Asperger syndrome, and had recently had treatment for cancer.

Last November 2 had been a normal day, Pomphret went to work, then the couple went shopping at Asda before visiting their stables near their home to check on their horses, the court heard.

The defendant had claimed he needed to pick up tools to fix the shower at home, but his wife began "ranting", taunting him about his erectile dysfunction and calling him "useless" and "limp".

Pomphret said he then lost control and attacked her with the crowbar before panicking and "stupidly" deciding to cover his tracks.