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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Lovers jailed for shotgun murder
A woman whose husband was shot dead as he watched television has been convicted of his murder along with her lover who pulled the trigger.

Christopher Reed, 53, shot James Donoghue, 35, with the sawn-off weapon at the couple's Stevenage home in Herts in April 2004.

At Cambridge Crown Court on Thursday Reed, from Watford, and Elizabeth Donoghue, 40, were jailed for life.

They were told they would each serve 30 years in prison.

[The killing] was carried out with a vicious weapon... for no better reason than that his wife had tired of [Mr Donoghue]
Mr Justice Hughes

Reed and Donoghue were both found guilty on unanimous verdicts.

The court heard Mr Donoghue's wife had left open a door to their home in Little Hyde and guided Reed to her husband by mobile phone from an upstairs room.

Judge Mr Justice Hughes said he could not distinguish between their actions in what was a carefully plotted and co-ordinated murder.

"It was carried out with a vicious weapon... for no better reason than that his wife had tired of him and there were disagreements between them," he said.

Previous plots

At the end of the trial the court heard Reed had a serious criminal record, including three rape convictions and one of kidnap.

In mitigation for Donoghue, Elizabeth Marsh said her client was of previous good character and she was unaware of Reed's previous convictions.

Earlier, the court heard the pair had been having an affair and had plotted to kill Mr Donoghue on two previous occasions.

Just three months before the murder Mrs Donoghue had persuaded her husband to take out a 144,000 insurance policy on his life.

Gun hidden

Reed's son, also called Christopher, said when the couple had asked him to, he refused to help them kill Mr Donoghue by getting them a powder that would bring on a heart attack if swallowed.

On another occasion father and son abandoned a plan to ambush Mr Donoghue after waiting for him in a van.

Instead, the court heard, Reed senior got hold of the shotgun and after murdering Mr Donoghue, gave the gun and clothes he had worn to his son, asking him to wash the clothes and keep the gun hidden.

Christopher Reed, who admitted assisting an offender but offered to give evidence against his father, was jailed for 21 months.




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