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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 03:56 GMT
Killer wife facing life sentence
Tatjana Plotnikova (picture from Surrey Police)
Tatjana Plotnikova thought her husband-to-be was a millionaire
A former prostitute who was found guilty of murdering her elderly husband after discovering he was not a wealthy man is due to be sentenced.

Tatjana Edwards, 27, is facing life in prison for murdering her husband Gwyn.

She admitted stabbing the 72-year-old at their home in Ottershaw, Surrey, but had told police it was an accident.

As the verdict was announced at London's Southwark Crown Court, Edwards gasped, buried her head in her hands and collapsed, sobbing inconsolably.

The jury of four men and eight women took four hours to find her guilty of murdering her husband during a row on 11 June last year.

On Thursday, judge Geoffrey Rivlin said the only sentence he could pass was life imprisonment but he would not do so until Friday.

"There are matters I want to think about," he said.

The still-sobbing Edwards was then helped to her feet and led to the cells.

Snare client

The 13-day trial heard that, having turned her back on a "strict" religious upbringing, Estonian-born Tatjana Plotnikova arrived in Britain in April 2002 as a student.

She said she ended up being raped and forced into prostitution before eventually escaping her pimp's clutches.

While selling sex for 200 a time at a Hampstead brothel in north London, Edwards set out to snare her client Mr Edwards, who hinted he was a multi-millionaire, the trial was told.

A whirlwind romance was followed by her agreeing to forsake her weekly 6,000 wage for what she thought would be a new life of even greater luxury.

Gwyn Edwards
Gwyn Edwards met his future wife at a London brothel

But not long after moving in to Mr Edwards's cramped bungalow and going through a modest ceremony at the local register office, she began to realise the truth.

The court heard that, as matters spiralled from bad to worse, she "drained" the marketing consultant's bank account with endless demands for cash, numerous trips abroad and a seemingly insatiable desire for designer clothes and other luxuries.

Meanwhile she complained endlessly about his "boring" life, his personal habits and a host of broken promises ranging from a fruitless house hunting exercise to a cancelled breast enhancement operation.

Then, almost certainly during a final row about money, she stabbed him in the stomach with a large kitchen knife, Wendy Joseph, prosecuting, said.

Edwards claimed she had been trying to commit suicide and the knife slipped while her husband struggled to disarm her, but the jury did not believe her.

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