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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
Husband's detailed murder plan
Plymouth Crown Court
The court heard how Anthony Mundy strangled his estranged wife
A Cornish man who carried out a step-by-step plan to kill his estranged wife and make her death look like suicide has been jailed for life.

Prosecuting, Geoffrey Mercer QC told Plymouth Crown Court on Thursday how Anthony Wayne Mundy, 39, strangled Janine, his wife of 15 years, in front of their two young sons and then hanged her body from a stairwell by a noose.

The murder at the family home in Moor Street, Camborne on 27 June came just 16 days after Mr Mundy, who admitted murder, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to drown her in the bath.

Mrs Mundy, 34, escaped the first attack and was left so frightened she had the house locks changed and an alarm installed.

It was... a wholly unnecessary and cold-blooded killing committed in front of two innocent children
Judge William Taylor
Mr Mundy was released on police bail and agreed not to harass his wife or enter her home.

Mr Mercer said Mr Mundy - who had moved in with his parents - followed his handwritten plan when he broke into the family home in the early hours of 27 June.

After deactivating the alarm he changed his clothes, in accordance with stage eight of his scheme.

The plan then read that he should find a rope under stairs, listen for any movement then creep upstairs, reminding himself to be careful where he stepped on the floorboards.

Stage 12 and 13 stated: " When upstairs make sure she is asleep.

"Quietly to the bedside. Wrap rope quickly around her neck and pull tight.

"Hold until she's dead. Sit on her and hold her down."

But the couple's two sons aged eight and 10 were woken by their mother's screams and went into her bedroom where they saw their father strangling her.

The younger boy went to the kitchen and tried to press the alarm his father had already deactivated.

After the killing, Mr Mundy dressed his wife and used climbing rope to suspend her body over the stairwell.

He then sent a text message from his wife's mobile to her mother's phone which read: "Mum I love you. I am so sorry. Everything has got out of hand."

He told his sons he killed their mother because she was trying to kill him, and warned them to say she had committed suicide.

He then returned to his parents' house on foot where he stayed until nearly an hour later when, as instructed, one of his sons telephoned him.

Mr Mundy went back to Moor Street after the police were called and was waiting in the doorway when they arrived.

He was arrested at the scene and the plan was found in the pocket of his jeans.

Jailing him for life, Judge William Taylor said: "It was in my judgment a wholly unnecessary and cold-blooded killing committed in front of two innocent children."

Medical evidence showed Mrs Mundy had been strangled and punched in the face.

Terrible events

In police interview Mr Mundy admitted the killing but said it was "a coincidence" he had the pre-prepared plan on him at the time.

Iain Leadbetter, defending, said Mr Mundy felt "consumed" at the breakdown of his marriage, his wife's affair and the fact that he would be unable to see his two sons.

He added: "He acknowledges that the events of that night were truly terrible.

"He has not only taken somebody's life, but he has potentially scarred his own flesh and blood forever."

Mr Mercer said: "The extent of the damage to them is quite simply impossible to say."

Speaking outside court after the case, Chris Gawne read out a statement from Janine Mundy's family.

It said: "We are relieved that Wayne Mundy has pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him.

"We hope that we will now be able to start the difficult process of rebuilding our lives after this tragic loss and ask that the family's privacy be respected."

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