Anti-freeze wife guilty of 'cold, calculated attack' on husband
Kate Knight, at Stafford Crown Court, before being charged with the attempted murder of her husband.
Kate Knight arriving at Stafford Crown Court today for the verdict.
A housewife who left her husband blind and deaf by spiking his food with anti-freeze was found guilty of attempted murder today.
Kate Knight had hoped to gain £130,000 from the death of her husband, Lee, when she laced his red wine and curry with ethylene glycol on their seventh wedding anniversary.
He awoke from a 16-week coma in hospital, to discover that his wife's actions had left him blind, deaf, brain damaged and with severe kidney failure.
A jury at Stafford Crown Court took eight hours to convict Knight, 28, of Meir Hay, Stoke-on-Trent, after a three-week trial. The court heard that she had planned to murder her husband and collect his life insurance to solve her debt problems.
* Wife denies using internet to research antifreeze for murder
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After the verdict, Mr Knight said in a statement: "Kate has ruined my life and what she did will have a big effect on Jack's future. I hope I can make things right for him."
"It has been very stressful. I realised I had lost my wife. I've lost my job, my house, everything I have worked for, and worst of all, my son. I have hardly any independence any more. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to work again.”
Mr Knight, who worked overtime at the JCB plant near Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, to earn about £36,000 a year, said that he now relied on friends and family for everything, and is on constant dialysis.
In the statement, Mr Knight, who now lives at his parents' house in Stoke-on-Trent, spoke of his plans for the future.
“I’d like to have an extension built on mum and dad’s house so there’s a private space for me and my son I’d like to take him on holiday.”
He also thanked his friends, family and Staffordshire Police for their support.
Judge Simon Tonking remanded Knight in custody for reports before sentencing, on a date to be set. He told her: “I will be imposing a very considerable term of imprisonment.”
During five hours in the witness box, Knight showed little sorrow or sympathy for the plight of her husband or spoke of any feelings for him.
The court heard that she had considered several ways to kill her husband, at one point asking a friend and neighbour whether she knew a hitman. She had used the internet to find a method of killing, settling on anti-freeze after dismissing using Ecstasy or iron tablets.
A clear motive of financial gain emerged during the hearing. Unbeknown to her husband, Knight — a former accountancy stusent who was receiving disability living allowance because of a trapped nerve — was organising high-interest loans to settle spiralling debts.
The couple had a mortgage of £55,000 on their £125,000 marital home in Stoke-on-Trent, later paying for improvements by upping the home loan to £85,000. The second mortgage was taken out on a three-year fixed rate of 4.59 per cent and unknown to Mr Knight, was later increased to almost £98,000, at a discounted rate of 7.15 per cent rising to 9.15 per cent after 12 months.
When police searched their home after Knight’s arrest, they found letters relating to mortgage arrears and other financial problems hidden in a handbag.
Investigations uncovered a personal loan of £10,000 taken out in October 2003 and another loan for £7,000, which required repayments of £14,418 over seven years.
Under cross-examination, Knight insisted that her husband was aware of the loans and had control of the household’s finances. Asked about the days before he was admitted to hospital in April 2005, Knight told the jury that she thought he had flu. “He went grey on the Saturday morning – he looked awful,” she said.
Knight remained calm while commenting on evidence given by her neighbour, Sarah Johnson.
Miss Johnson’s claims that Knight had talked about using anti-freeze to poison her husband raised the initial suspicions about Mr Knight’s illness – and put his wife firmly in the frame for a “wicked and evil” crime.
Knight made no criticism of Miss Johnson during her testimony, simply answering “no” when asked if conversations about a hitman and anti-freeze had taken place.
She gave an animated account to the jury of her apparent attempt to pin her husband’s near-fatal health problems on what she claimed was a liking for alcohol.
The former brewery training officer and customer services adviser – who married at 19 after meeting Mr Knight three years earlier – told the jury that her husband drank up to four litres of super-strength lager each night and was also fond of “Cheeky Vimto” – a cocktail of port, vodka, lemonade and alcopop.
Knight told the jury: “He used to drink wine, red, white and rosť, Jack Daniels whisky and the occasional gin. On the average weekday evening he would have between four and eight cans of Special Brew... sometimes he drank red wine at home as well.
Detective Constable Martin Smith, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Despite the weight of evidence against her, Kate Knight refused to co-operate with the inquiry. Her cowardly crime almost caused the death of Lee Knight.
“Lee, with the support of his family, is now piecing his life back together.”
A Crown Prosecution Service statement said: “The Crown’s case was that this was a cold and calculated attack on Mr Knight. Knight had every intention to kill her husband by poisoning him with the toxic substance.
“Evidence was gathered from her computer showing that she had researched the effects of different substances, ensuring she used the most lethal."
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Anti-freeze wife guilty of 'cold, calculated attack' on husband - Times Online