Kinga Legg murder: Ian Griffin guilty of killing millionaire girlfriend

Ian Griffin Image copyright PA
Image caption Griffin denied murder, saying he could not recall what happened

A businessman has been jailed for murdering his millionaire girlfriend in a Paris hotel suite.

Ian Griffin, 45, from Cheshire, was arrested in June 2009, after Kinga Legg was found dead in their £1,000-a-night room at the five-star Hotel Le Bristol.

He had denied killing her, claiming he could not recall what happened and woke to find the room in a chaotic state, before discovering Ms Legg's body.

He was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years at the Cour D'Assises in Paris.

Griffin was the subject of a European arrest warrant after a maid discovered Ms Legg's battered body in the bathtub.

The Paris court heard he fled Paris in his Porsche 911, which was later recovered from an address in Warrington, Cheshire, where he grew up.

He was arrested several days after the arrest warrant was issued, in woodland in nearby Macclesfield.

Ms Legg, 36, who lived in a mansion in Surrey with Griffin, was found in the blood-spattered hotel room with multiple injures and more than 100 marks on her body.

The Polish-born millionaire, who made her fortune running her family's supermarket produce supply business Vegex, died of internal bleeding.

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Media captionIan Griffin always claimed he never meant to kill his fiancee Kinga Legg

In court: Lucy Williamson, BBC Paris Correspondent

After finding Kinga Legg's body, Griffin spent several hours cleaning the room and hung a Do Not Disturb sign on the door, before driving back to the UK in his sports car.

Speaking directly to the jury at the Paris court, Griffin asked them "How could you think I killed the woman I loved?"

The couple had a turbulent and physically violent relationship. A few weeks before she died, Ms Legg reportedly sent a text message to a friend, describing how her fiancé had pressured her to take an overdose of sleeping pills.

A lawyer for her family said they had hoped for an explanation of what had happened on the night she died. "Instead," he said, "they had to be content with Mr Griffin's memory lapses."

Griffin had denied murder and told the court he blacked out after arguing with Ms Legg at a restaurant earlier in the evening, when she told him: "You owe me sex".

During closing statements by both the prosecution and defence, he told the jury: "To think I could do that to the girl I love, that's killing me. I have been through every regret, every emotion."

"I would give my life for hers tomorrow," he said.

Presiding judge, Didier Safar, said the jury decided Griffin should not benefit from a law which states a defendant is not liable for his actions because of a "psychological disorder".

However, he said the jury did say his level of responsibility was "changed" by his mental state.

After sentencing, Ms Legg's brother, Marek Wolf, said it was "the correct verdict and decision".

"I'm glad that after three years the trial is finished, but nobody can give me or my parents my sister back."

Griffin's current girlfriend Tracy Baker, who wept as the sentence was delivered, declined to comment as she left the court.

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