Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Gloucestershire farmer guilty of murdering missing wife

Adrian Prout
Prout's wife asked him for a divorce before she went missing

A landowner has been found guilty of murdering his estranged wife.

Adrian Prout, 47, had denied murdering his 55-year-old wife Kate, whose body has never been found.

Prout, of Redmarley, Gloucestershire, will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Monday and has been told to expect a life sentence.

After the hearing, his victim's family appealed to Prout to reveal where he had hidden the body. Mrs Prout disappeared in November 2007.

The three-week trial heard that before her disappearance she had asked her husband for a divorce.

'Big relief'

Prout, who has become a father with his fiancee Debbie Garlick since Mrs Prout's disappearance, remained motionless as the verdict was read out.

Jurors found him guilty by a majority of 10 to one.

We would... appeal to Adrian to tell us what happened to Kate and where she is because we would like to lay her to rest
Richard Wakefield
Brother of Kate Prout

After the verdict, Mrs Prout's brother Richard Wakefield, 59, from Lypiatt, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, appealed to Prout to reveal where he had hidden her body.

He said: "Nothing will bring Kate back to us, but we are pleased that justice has been done.

"It is a big relief that the trial has ended with this verdict and this will go some way towards allowing us to move forward.

"We would, however, appeal to Adrian to tell us what happened to Kate and where she is because we would like to lay her to rest and say our goodbyes."

The jury heard Mrs Prout confronted her husband with an increased divorce demand on 5 November 2007, the day before she went missing.

The couple, who married in 2000, were living in Redhill Farm, in Redmarley, a 276-acre property valued at £1.2m.

Kate Prout
Kate Prout disappeared from her home in November 2007

Prout offered his wife a settlement of £600,000, but after discussion with accountants she decided to demand £800,000.

Crown prosecutor Paul Dunkels told the jury Mrs Prout had a "volatile personality".

He said: "This was reflective in the character of her relationship with the defendant."

Prout owned a successful pipe-laying business and a commercial shoot, but his wife felt he gave too much time to his work and too little attention to her, the court heard.

He also moved his daughter from a previous relationship into the couple's home in 2006 which created "friction" in the household.

Mrs Prout left diary accounts of arguments during which her husband threatened to kill her.

Lunch row

In September 2007, she rented a holiday cottage near Salisbury, Wiltshire, with her half-sister.

She made arrangements for house-sitter Diane Bellamy to care for the farm while she was away.

Prout developed a friendship with Ms Bellamy and shortly before he reported his wife missing, he told the house-sitter someone had "taken" Mrs Prout away.

In evidence, Prout denied murdering his wife, but conceded there was a risk he would have to sell his "dream" farm to meet her £800,000 divorce demand.

He said the last time he saw her was after they had a "low-key" row over her cooking him too big a lunch.



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SEE ALSO
Murdered wife's body 'may never be found'
05 Feb 10 |  Gloucestershire
Murder accused 'risked farm loss'
26 Jan 10 |  Gloucestershire
Missing wife's 'vow over assets'
25 Jan 10 |  Gloucestershire
Court is told of woman's concerns
18 Jan 10 |  Gloucestershire
Husband planned 'nasty surprise'
13 Jan 10 |  Gloucestershire
Missing wife 'a volatile person'
12 Jan 10 |  Gloucestershire

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