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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 May, 2003, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
'Sex pact' husband killed wife
Charles and Trudy Hall
Hall had kept a logbook of his wife's behaviour
A man who made a pact with his wife consenting to her extra marital affairs has been jailed for six years after he was convicted of killing her.

Former civil servant Charles Hall shot wife Trudy when she asked for a divorce.

The 69-year-old blasted her with a shotgun at their home in Hellingly, East Sussex, after she told him he was "past his sell-by date".

Hall was cleared of murder by a jury at Lewes Crown Court but found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation.

The court had heard how the couple, who had been married for 18 years, had an agreement that she could enjoy relationships with younger men as long as she continued to satisfy his "domestic and sexual needs".

Prosecutors alleged Hall deliberately grabbed his legally-owned shotgun when his 53-year-old wife reneged on their pact by telling him their marriage was over and he was "past his sell-by-date".

The home of Charles and Trudy Hall in Hellingly, East Sussex
Mrs Hall was shot through the head on her bed at the couple's home

Jurors were told how Hall had kept a logbook of his wife's behaviour and made nightly reports on her affairs.

In his defence, Hall insisted he did not know the gun was loaded and said he meant only to scare his wife before turning the gun on himself.

Hall had also believed his wife was trying to poison him after he became ill when he ate her fairy cakes.

He was beside his wife's body on her bed when he spoke to the 999 operator.

In court during the 10-day trial he wiped away tears as a recording of the conversation was played to the seven men and five women jurors.

He could be heard saying: "We have had a terrible row about her, I can only describe as unfaithfulness ... I feel so awful, there's blood everywhere. Please please come soon.

"I know you are going to arrest me for murder, I appreciate that, but at my age the only thing I had to live for was her.

"I have committed a murder haven't I? No matter how you look at it, that's what I have done ... I have to admit I knew what I was doing, but whether the provocation I experienced justifies what I did I don't know.

"I realise that I probably stand to serve a hefty prison sentence. I'm not a violent man. I'm not physically built to be like that. I'm a retired civil servant still bound by the Official Secrets Act."

'Clearest evidence'

The jury had deliberated for more than 10 hours before returning their verdict after a week-long trial at Lewes Crown Court.

Sentencing Hall, Judge Richard Brown said: "In this case the jury have convicted you of deliberately killing Trudy on the clearest possible evidence.

"In the view of the jury you were provoked, they having been satisfied that you lost your self-control as a result of something Trudy did or said.

"The jury has found that such a loss of self control was acceptable in the circumstances and that this offence should be reduced from murder to manslaughter."

Husband 'adored' shot wife
23 May 03  |  Southern Counties
Civil servant 'shot wife dead'
19 May 03  |  Southern Counties
Jury shown 'murder' shotgun
20 May 03  |  Southern Counties

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