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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 13:09 GMT
Jail for murder bid millionairess
Ann Hunter and Anton Lee

A businesswoman has been jailed for eight years for plotting to kill her former partner and his wife.

Ann Hunter, 50, from Chiswick, London, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of persuading boyfriend Anton Lee to find a hitman to murder Colin Love, 54.

Hunter denied the charge, but pleaded guilty to soliciting Lee to commit grievous bodily harm on Judith Love.

Lee, 44, of Stanmore, Middlesex, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to soliciting murder.

During sentencing, Hunter was told by judge Brian Barker that she was callous and manipulative and had used her besotted lover to achieve her aims.

You brought disgrace upon yourselves and pain and anguish to those who love you
Judge Brian Barker

He said: "It is a tragedy to see two people of ability, achievement and admiration in this court.

"You brought disgrace upon yourselves and pain and anguish to those who love you."

The judge said to Lee: "You had taken leave of your senses. The context of your crime is breathtaking in its audacity and coldness."

The prosecution said Hunter could not accept the end of her 22-year relationship with Mr Love.

Undercover policeman

She sent a series of abusive emails to Mr Love and developed an "uncontrollable hatred" for his new partner who moved into a 600,000 Bedfordshire mansion, which the defendant had previously shared with him, the court heard.

Things came to a head when Mr Love married the teenage sweetheart he had met again through the Friends Reunited website.

In court it was said Lee, who had initially been Mr Love's accountant, went along with the plan to kill Mr and Mrs Love.

But when they approached a man in October 2005 they believed to be a hitman, they did not know they were talking to an undercover policeman, who was alerted after a tip-off.

Colin Love
Hunter had a 22-year relationship with Colin Love

Hunter was said to have changed her mind after meeting him and handed over 5,000, with 5,000 to follow. She said she only needed Mrs Love maimed - for her to be blinded or put in a wheelchair.

She was also given a concurrent five year sentence for plotting to maim Mrs Love.

Using the name Ann Hunter-Love, Hunter was an executive with major companies including Unilever before leaving to become managing director of a company making Tommee Tippee baby products in Northumberland before her arrest.

As a successful mother and director, she was saluted as "superwoman" by colleagues.

Outside court, Det Sgt Nick Bush said: "This was a very serious offence which has been shown by the sentence handed down by the judge.

"But this is a very unusual case - we don't get many of them."

Victim interview "Her jealousy was just off the scale"

Businesswoman 'hired a hit-man'
14 Dec 06 |  London

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