A Wigan man who stabbed his accountant wife to death a day after he discovered she was having an affair with a joiner has been jailed for a minimum of 17 years.
Stuart Gallear, 51, claimed he did not intend to kill wife Mandy, 42, in the kitchen of their home in Hindley, Wigan, and said he momentarily lost his self-control.
Last week a jury at Manchester Crown Court rejected his account and unanimously found him guilty of murder on October 6 last year.
Sentencing him today (Wednesday) to life imprisonment, Mr Justice Openshaw said Gallear “gave way to self-indulgence, verging on self-pity” as he faced the break-up of his marriage and his family.
Police arrived at the couple’s home in Makinson Avenue within 10 minutes of the defendant ringing for an ambulance and found the mother of two lying motionless on the kitchen floor with three deep wounds to her chest.
Mrs Gallear, head of accounts at a property firm, was rushed to hospital but medics could not resuscitate her and she was pronounced dead.
He fully understands it is extremely unlikely that his daughters will ever feel sufficiently reconciled to have any contact with him and does not expect them to do soSimon Csoka QC
Six months earlier, Mrs Gallear confessed to her husband, a warehouse manager, about having an affair, but denied it was with joiner Mark Prescott and said it had ended.
However, on October 5 the son of Mr Prescott’s partner called at the Gallears’ front door and revealed the relationship was ongoing.
Following his arrest, Gallear claimed the couple talked amicably about their forthcoming break-up after he came home from the pub where he had had five pints of lager.
He said that as she unloaded the dishwasher, his wife then told him: “Anyway, it’s sorted now. We are separating. I love him more than you,” and his memory of what happened next was “blurred” as he picked up a large kitchen knife and attacked her.
He claimed his wife protested “what are you doing? I still love you”, and he then “just snapped out of it”, put the knife aside and rang for assistance.
But the prosecution said the stabbing was the culmination of his anger and resentment which built up over the two days.
A post-mortem examination revealed that one of the stab wounds was 7.4in deep and cut through the breast bone - delivered by a knife with a 7.6in blade.
Gallear, originally from Wolverhampton, had admitted manslaughter but the Crown did not accept his plea.
The couple married in 1998 and emigrated to Canada in 2009 with their two daughters, Amy, now aged 16, and Katy, now 15, but the move was not a success as Gallear failed to find a job and they flew back to the UK three months later.
He became depressed on their return as he drank heavily, and he told the jury he neglected the family.
In 2012 Gallear made a pass at his wife’s sister Adele, when he tried to kiss her.
Mr Justice Openshaw said it was “surely right” that Gallear was “not an easy man to live with”.
Shortly before the stabbing, Gallear went looking for Prescott in the joiner’s local pub in Hindley and the judge said the defendant was “overwrought” that he did not find him.
Mr Justice Openshaw said: “He was in a highly excitable state. He was thwarted by not finding Mark Prescott. He believed he had been deceived by his wife, that she would leave him, take their children, the house would be sold and he would be left with nothing.
“He believed she had ruined his life.
“These matters were obviously playing on his mind. It only needed a small matter to detonate these pent-up emotions.”
The defendant was the only living witness to what next happened when he arrived home, said the judge, but he said it was “obvious to my mind” that Gallear picked up the long-bladed, heavy duty knife and delivered “targeted and forceful thrusts” to her chest.
He continued: “This was a murder of a woman in her own home where she is entitled to feel safe.
“I accept there was no pre-meditation. He did not go back home intending to kill.
“But I am unable to find there was any substantial provocation. She decided to leave her unhappy marriage as she was entitled to do. She believed she would find greater happiness with another as she was entitled to do.
“This does not excuse, justify or simply mitigate his conduct in fatally stabbing her.
“He gave way to self-indulgence, verging on self-pity.”
Mitigating, Simon Csoka QC said the defendant had shown “almost instantaneous remorse” after stabbing his wife as he dialled 999 and tried to save her life.
He said: “This is a man who fully understands the consequences of what he has done.
“He fully understands he has caused his daughters to lose their mother, in addition to the remorse he feels for taking his wife away.
“He fully understands it is extremely unlikely that his daughters will ever feel sufficiently reconciled to have any contact with him and does not expect them to do so.”
Mr Justice Openshaw said the victim impact statements presented to the court had highlighted that Gallear had deprived his daughters of their mother and of their father.
He said: “That may weigh heavily on him but not as hard as it does on them and that knowledge is something they must carry as best they can.”