Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

Farmer Adrian Prout given life for wife's murder

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

A Gloucestershire landowner has been ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years in prison for murdering his wife.

Adrian Prout, 47, was found guilty on Friday of murdering Kate Prout, 55. Her body has never been found.

His trial at Bristol Crown Court was told that before her disappearance she had asked her husband for a divorce.

Mrs Prout's brother Richard Wakefield, from Lypiatt, near Stroud, has urged Prout, of Redmarley, to reveal where he hid her body.

Sentencing Prout to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years, Mr Justice Nigel Davis said: "One of the pieces of evidence that sticks in my mind is that Kate Prout used to remember her parents by placing flowers on their grave.

"I expect her family would like to place flowers on her grave but they can't, and they can't because of you."

He continued: "It was said on your behalf that there was some sort of stress or a degree of provocation. I couldn't accept even that.

"The truth is you allowed your temper to erupt and it was your anger that killed her.

"How you killed her is only known to you. You most probably did it by strangling her."

We will continue to appeal to Prout to give Kate's family the chance to say a proper goodbye by revealing where her body is.
Det Supt Neil Kelly, Gloucestershire Police

The last time anyone heard from Mrs Prout was 1529 GMT on 5 November, when she called her bank.

Since then no agencies have had any contact with her, including banks and passport agencies, and a prolonged police hunt has failed to find a trace.

Defending counsel Elizabeth Marsh said a "prolonged period of stress" could be considered as a mitigating factor.

Miss Marsh said there had been several events leading up to Mrs Prout's disappearance, in particular 27 October 2007, when she drunkenly abused Prout in front of friends at the local pub.

Protesting innocence

The three-week long trial had heard that Mrs Prout had demanded an £800,000 divorce settlement from her husband.

This would have meant he would have had to sell the £1.2m farmhouse, near Gloucester.

Prout ran a pipe-laying business and a pheasant shoot from the property, Redhill Farm.

Kate Prout
Kate Prout disappeared from her home in November 2007

Speaking after the case, Mrs Prout's brother Richard Wakefield said: "Nothing will bring Kate back to us, but we are pleased that justice has been done.

"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."

Det Supt Neil Kelly, of Gloucestershire Police said: "We will continue to appeal to Prout to give Kate's family the chance to say a proper goodbye by revealing where her body is."

Prout, who has become a father with another partner since Mrs Prout's disappearance, is thought to have strangled her and then used his expertise as a professional pipe-layer to bury her body.

His family have declined to comment, but a Facebook group protesting his innocence has been set up by family members and friends.

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