Three jailed over Sussex wife murder plot

Bruce Killick Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Killick had been having an affair with his groom and wanted his wife dead

Three men have been jailed after being found guilty of conspiring to kill a 61-year-old woman in West Sussex.

Bruce Killick, 63, Graham Martin, 39, and Karl Cruise, 55, were convicted of planning to kill Killick's wife, Susan.

Mrs Killick was attacked at her home near Horsham in February, by Cruise, with a hammer, a screwdriver, a stun gun and two kitchen knives.

Killick and Martin were each jailed for a minimum of 20 years, and Cruise for a minimum of 15, at Lewes Crown Court.

Cruise was also sentenced for 11 years for grievous bodily harm with intent to run concurrently.

'Broken down car'

A charge of attempted murder against Cruise was dropped in September.

All three were found guilty following a five-week trial.

Killick, who runs a horse and alpaca transport company, from Emms Lane, Brooks Green, near Horsham; Martin, an alpaca farmer, and Cruise, a casual labourer, both British nationals living in the Brittany region of France, were arrested in the days and weeks after the attack.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Cruise only stopped attacking Susan Killick when he became short of breath

The court heard how Killick had been having an affair with his groom and had hired Cruise, through his work associate, Martin, to kill his wife.

Mrs Killick was attacked on 18 February after answering the door to Cruise, who had claimed his car had broken down.

He asked to use her phone to contact a garage but followed her into her kitchen where he then began his attack.

'Brutal attack'

Mrs Killick was only able to get away from Cruise and alert her neighbours after he became short of breath, having suffered a medical episode, Sussex Police said.

Speaking after the sentencing, Det Insp David Springett said: "This was a planned and incredibly brutal attack against Mrs Killick, orchestrated by her husband and carried out by his criminal associates.

"I am sure that if it was not for her sustained self defence then Mrs Killick would not have survived this assault."

He added that the offence had been motivated by greed and Killick's desire to start a new life with his mistress.

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