Monday 11 December 2017

Man who blamed wife's death on bacon sandwich accident found guilty of murder

Darren Byrne (40) attacked his 34-year-old wife Maria then turned on the gas in the kitchen of their home in Theydon Bois, Essex, trying to make her death look like an accident while she was making a bacon sandwich Photo: Essex Police/PA Wire
Darren Byrne (40) attacked his 34-year-old wife Maria then turned on the gas in the kitchen of their home in Theydon Bois, Essex, trying to make her death look like an accident while she was making a bacon sandwich Photo: Essex Police/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A former city trader who killed his wife then tried to burn down the family home after she discovered he was having an affair has been convicted of murder.

Darren Byrne (40) attacked his 34-year-old wife Maria then turned on the gas in the kitchen of their home in Theydon Bois, Essex, trying to make her death look like an accident while she was making a bacon sandwich.

It happened while the couple's two young children were staying with their grandparents.

He was found guilty of murder and arson by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday, Essex Police said.

In a statement released after the trial, Mrs Byrne's mother Linda Biggs said what Darren Byrne did to her daughter was "beyond any human comprehension".

She said: "Eight years ago we entrusted Maria, the most precious thing we had, to Darren Byrne.

"We loved him and treated him like our own son.

"This person, instead of loving and protecting her, took her life in the most degrading way."

The court heard that Byrne began an affair with an osteopath he was receiving treatment from in London. He was discovered a first time by his wife but then continued the affair.

When his wife discovered for the second time that he was having an affair he killed her on February 13, 2016.

When paramedics arrived Byrne told them his wife had been making him a bacon sandwich and when he returned home she was dead, the court heard.

Byrne told police he had been out walking his dog.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings said after the hearing: "Byrne brutally killed his wife before dousing her in white spirit and turning the gas on in the kitchen to cover up what he had done.

"He was motivated by his own selfishness and anger, needlessly ending Maria's life in a most horrific way and tearing apart his own family.

"Two young children have been robbed of their mother by their own father and my thoughts are very much with them and Maria's family as they continue to come to terms with their loss.

"Byrne has not shown any remorse and will now have to live with the consequences of what he has done and the devastating impact of his actions."

Byrne is expected to be sentenced later this week.

Press Association

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