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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 15:12 GMT
Killer husband is jailed for life
Derek Symmons
Derek Symmons was jailed for life for murdering his wife Christine
A husband who strangled his wife, then drove her body in the boot of his car to France, has been jailed for life.

Derek Symmons disposed of wife Christine's body, then planned to return to their million-pound home in England and claim she was missing.

Symmons, 63, from Rickmansworth, was found guilty at St Albans Crown Court of murdering his 59-year-old wife.

The killer committed the murder on September 5, 2005. He will spend a minimum of 16 years in prison.

During his trial Symmons claimed he had acted in self-defence when his wife attacked him.

But jurors heard how moments after killing his wife, the defendant confided to his married daughter Claire Songhurst: "I've done something terrible. You'll never forgive me".

Passing sentence, Judge Michael Baker, QC, said: "You have spun a web of deceit as your son predicted you would, but in the end it has taken in no-one.

"Only you know the full truth of what happened and you have not told it. I conclude that you killed your wife in an impulsive act when, uncharacteristically, she stood up to you."

The judge described the chartered electrical engineer's actions after the murder as "calculated, cold-hearted and callous".

Symmons lived in a six-bed roomed detached house in Lower Plantation on the Loudwater estate, near Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.

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