Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 11:53 UK

Husband death plotter wife jailed

A care worker who planned to have her husband killed so she could claim insurance money has been jailed for seven years.

Zoe Kenealy, 44, of Kenley in Croydon, south London, took out a 4,500 home-improvements loan to pay for the hitman, the Old Bailey heard.

Timothy Kenealy, 51, said he forgave his wife and vowed to stand by her.

Judge Gregory Stone praised Kenealy's family for turning her in when they learnt of her "cynical and cruel" plot.

She's the love of my life and I want to be with her forever
Timothy Kenealy

Kenealy was convicted of soliciting murder in April.

The court heard the couple were facing financial difficulties and Kenealy wanted to collect 33,000 from her 51-year-old husband's insurance policy.

Sentencing her, Judge Stone said: "This was a cynical and cruel attempt to have your husband killed.

"You did it partly for the insurance money but more because you could no longer bear to live with him.

"The decision by your family, particularly your father, to call in the police must have been a very difficult one. Plainly that was a courageous decision."

'Desperately sad'

Earlier Mr Kenealy said: "I still love Zoe dearly. She's the love of my life and I want to be with her forever."

Kenealy, who has two sons with her husband and four other children from her first marriage, had paid 3,000 to her neighbour Lee Waite, 31, to hire a hitman, which he pocketed.

The court heard she was infatuated by Mr Waite but he had no intention of hurting Mr Kenealy.

Kenealy's family called police in January 2007 after she repeatedly sent text messages to her brother asking him to lend her money to have her husband killed.

She applied for 10,000 loans but was twice turned down.

The court heard Kenealy, who had been in a violent relationship in her first marriage, felt "desperately sad" and smothered by her husband.

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