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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 15:57 GMT
Poison plot wife given 30 years
Kate Knight
Kate Knight showed "little remorse", the judge said
A woman who tried to kill her husband by putting anti-freeze into his curry and wine has been jailed for 30 years.

Kate Knight, 28, was found guilty of the attempted murder of Lee Knight at their home in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire in 2005.

Judge Simon Tonking, at Stafford Crown Court, told Knight she showed "little remorse" and would serve at least 15 years before being eligible for parole.

Mr Knight, 38, suffered kidney failure and brain damage and is now blind.

He is also partially deaf, has some paralysis of his facial muscles and needs 24-hour care.

The devastation you have brought to his life is apparent...
Mr Justice Tonking

Mr Justice Tonking said the poisoning happened following "premeditated planning of a most callous kind".

Knight, of Meir Hay, Stoke-on-Trent, plotted to poison her husband in order to collect a 130,000 payout from her husband's employer JCB, in order to clear her 17,000 loans and remortgage, the court was told.

The judge also spoke about the impact the poisoning had on Mr Knight's life.

"The devastation you have brought to his life is apparent to everyone who saw him giving evidence in this case," he said.

"But while he did so there was little or any sign of remorse on your part."

Poisoned curry

Despite showing little emotion during her trial, Knight rocked back and forth, cried and appeared shaken during the sentencing hearing.

The public gallery cheered and clapped as the judge read out her sentence.

Lee Knight before the poisoning
Mr Knight told the court he knew nothing of anti-freeze in the house

He said her crime fell into the "top of the scale" for sentencing attempted murder cases.

The court had heard how on the night of the couple's seventh wedding anniversary on 4 April 2005, Knight cooked her husband a curry and served him red wine - both of which had been laced with ethylene glycol, the chemical constituent of anti-freeze.

When Mrs Knight was arrested in May 2005, police discovered a one-litre bottle of anti-freeze containing 840ml of the liquid at the couple's home.

During the three-week trial, the jury heard how Knight, originally from the Wirral, had used internet searches to find a method of killing, settling on anti-freeze after ruling out ecstasy or an iron overdose.

Her neighbour Sarah Johnson, 28, told the court how Knight had mentioned paying 50,000 to hire a hitman.

Mr Knight, who lives with his parents and the couple's nine-year-old son, said his ex-wife had ruined his life.

"I have hardly any independence anymore - I need to have somebody with me all the time. I don't think I'll ever be able to work again," he said.

'Cynical and ruthless'

He wears two hearing aids after regaining some level of hearing following an operation, and during the trial gave evidence supported by two hearing specialists.

Outside court, Det Con Martin Smith, who led the Staffordshire Police investigation, said: "Kate Knight cynically and ruthlessly plotted to murder her husband and cover her tracks.

"Even when Lee was critically ill she kept secret from doctors what had caused the condition which eventually left him deaf, blind and in need of kidney dialysis.

"Despite her scheming, Knight left a trail of evidence which, through detailed investigation, we were able to build into a strong case resulting in her prison sentence today."

A reconstruction of the poison plot

Anti-freeze victim speaks to son
01 Feb 08 |  Staffordshire
Woman's plot to kill husband
29 Jan 08 |  England
Wife guilty of anti-freeze plot
29 Jan 08 |  Staffordshire
'Poisoned' husband gives evidence
17 Jan 08 |  Staffordshire

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