Leicester

M1 crash death driver Ian Walters guilty of murdering wife

Tracy Walters Image copyright Family issue
Image caption Ian Walters killed his wife Tracy because she wanted a divorce, the court was told

A man accused of murdering his wife by deliberately driving their car into a motorway embankment has been convicted.

Driving test examiner Ian Walters, 51, was accused of driving off the M1 in Leicestershire at about 80mph to kill his wife Tracy.

The Swindon couple were travelling home from a "make or break" holiday, Leicester Crown Court heard.

Walters, who was badly injured in the crash, was given a life term and ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years.

On the day of the crash, on 21 March 2014, the pair had been travelling home with their two dogs after cutting short a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales, the jury was told.

Footage of four seconds before the crash showed the car travelling at 79mph, apparently with no obstructions in the road.

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Media captionOn the day of the crash, on 21 March 2014, the pair had been travelling home after cutting short a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales

Walters had claimed he remembered nothing of the 130-mile (209km) journey and told the court he loved his wife and did not want to kill her.

The prosecution claimed he killed her after a series of rows caused by his unreasonable sexual demands.

Walters admitted they had a "dramatic and adventurous" sex life but often argued because of poor communication.

The court also heard how Mrs Walters had sent texts to her family during the journey saying her husband was in a "volatile" mood.

'Toxic marriage'

Sentencing him, Judge Nicholas Dean QC, said: "Tracy was a warm and generous woman who, despite your treatment of her, loved you.

"It was you and your unreasonable insatiable sexual demands that led to your toxic marriage.

"When you deliberately drove off the motorway your intention was to kill Tracy. You knew you had lost your control over her and it was your way of demonstrating it was you who was in control.

"You have demonstrated no remorse or regret. Indeed you seem to altogether lack compassion or empathy."

Image copyright Police issue
Image caption Walters was told he will serve a minimum of 17 years

In a statement, Mrs Walter's family said: "The hole that has been left by Tracy's murder is a void that can never be filled. Even our memories will be tainted because of the cowardly and devastating way in which we lost her.

"We as a family are also the victims of domestic abuse, it destroys lives, it devastates families, it has robbed us of a future with Tracy."

Walters had told the court he and his wife had generally had a "happy relationship".

"[But it had been] punctuated with too many incidents of there being problems," he said.

Jurors previously heard he had difficulty sleeping and had fallen asleep on two previous occasions while driving but nobody had been hurt.

The court heard Walters had retrained as a driving examiner after taking redundancy from Barclays Bank, and met Mrs Walters in 2011.

The pair, who both had children from previous relationships, moved in together within a few months and got married in Cyprus the following year.

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