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Last Updated: Friday, 9 May, 2003, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Text message led to hammer killing
Karon Pugh
Karon Pugh was bludgeoned to death

A jealous husband who battered his wife to death after finding a text message from her lover, has been jailed for six years.

Christopher Pugh, 43, killed his wife Karon with two hammers after searching her mobile phone for text messages.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Mrs Pugh, a nurse, had a holiday romance with landscape gardener John Simms, 51, after meeting him on a trip to Spain.

Mr Simms, who gave evidence in court from behind a screen, said the couple had exchanged phone numbers and kept in contact via text messages to keep the ongoing affair a secret from Pugh.

There is no doubt you were provoked by your wife into losing your self control
Judge Mr Justice Douglas Brown

Mark Evans QC, prosecuting, said the marriage was already in trouble when Mrs Pugh, 43, went on holiday.

Mrs Pugh had moved out of the family home in Barry, south Wales, although she occasionally returned.

The court heard painter and decorator Pugh was suspicious that his wife was having another relationship, but she had assured him the holiday romance was over.

But on 22 June last year, Pugh found a message from Mr Simms on his wife's mobile phone.

Mr Evans said: "He attacked her with the hammers resulting in her death.

"He did it by repeatedly striking her over the head.

Christopher Pugh
Christopher Pugh was jailed for six years

"He also at some stage tied a belt from a dressing gown tightly around her neck.

"There is no dispute about the fact but he claims to have little recollection."

Mrs Pugh died from a fractured skull and two blood-stained hammers were later found at the couple's home.

Mr Simms said he received a text message on his mobile from Pugh saying: "Meeting Karon in Cardiff was the worst thing you ever did."

Evidence

Christopher and Karon Pugh had three children together and their son Michael Pugh, 21, gave evidence against his father in court.

He told the jury: "That night he had a conversation about going to Newport to see the man my mum had been seeing.

"He said he loved us and said he was sorry for what he was going to do.

"He asked me to tell my sisters and my children how much he loved them."

Manslaughter

Pugh was found not guilty of murder but a jury convicted him of manslaughter by reason of provocation on a majority verdict of 10-2.

The jury was later told Pugh had a previous conviction for assaulting his wife during a domestic row.

Pugh sobbed as he was sentenced to six years.

Judge Mr Justice Douglas Brown told him: "There is no doubt you were provoked by your wife into losing your self control.

"It was the way in which she conducted her affair and led you to believe that the marriage was not over that led to your actions.

"The jury has come to the conclusion that the hammer blows to her face were or may have been excusable.

"Six years is the minimum sentence I can pass upon you."




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