Saturday 18 August 2018

Police inspector more than €112k in debt killed his wife after she challenged him over loan, court hears

Undated handout photo issued by Cheshire Constabulary of Leanne McKie as her husband, police sergeant Darren McKie, is due to go on trial at Chester Crown Court accused of murdering his detective wife. Photo: Cheshire Constabulary/PA Wire
Undated handout photo issued by Cheshire Constabulary of Leanne McKie as her husband, police sergeant Darren McKie, is due to go on trial at Chester Crown Court accused of murdering his detective wife. Photo: Cheshire Constabulary/PA Wire
Police sergeant Darren McKie arrives at Chester Crown Court charged with the murder of his wife Leanne who was also a serving police officer. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Eleanor Barlow

A police inspector who was more than £100,000 (€112,000) in debt strangled his detective wife and then dumped her body in a lake after she challenged him over a loan application, a court has heard.

Darren McKie, (43) and his wife Leanne, (39), were living "well beyond their means" and were under "considerable financial pressure", when her body was found in a shallow lake near their Cheshire home.

Opening the case at Chester Crown Court, Nigel Power QC, said: "She was in shallow water, but she hadn't drowned. She had been strangled to death."

The couple, who had three children, met through work and married in 2004, and both worked for Greater Manchester Police. Mrs McKie was a detective constable working in the Serious Sexual Offences Unit of Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Police sergeant Darren McKie arrives at Chester Crown Court charged with the murder of his wife Leanne who was also a serving police officer. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Police sergeant Darren McKie arrives at Chester Crown Court charged with the murder of his wife Leanne who was also a serving police officer. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The jury was told that one of their friends, Helen Baglin, had described them as having a "brilliant relationship", while another friend, Sarah James, said: "It seemed to me that they had the perfect family."

However, the court heard Mrs McKie first discovered her husband's financial difficulties in 2012 when she told her mother that he had run up £20,000 (€22,418) on a credit card. They had a joint monthly income of £3,933 (€4,408), but they also had four credit cards, three active loans, six finance agreements and a mortgage on their home.

Mr Power said: "In short they were living well beyond their means and were under considerable financial pressure, and although that could not be described as a new position, the intensity was something that you may say was considerable."

He added: "Now families often run into debt together because of extravagant spending. Often the husband and wife are in it together, and together they work their way out of it."

It was not clear to what extent Mrs McKie was aware of the extent of the financial problems.

In total the couple owed a total of £103,000 (€115,000) not including their mortgage, with 26 loan applications having been made.

On the day she died she challenged her husband about a £54,000 (€60,000) loan application her husband had made on her behalf, the jury heard

In a text message she wrote: "You liar! Just got back a loan application with my passport and my name...I asked you and you promised. Fluent finance? Who are they? Are we in such a mess? Why again? The kids need clothes and shoes, what's going on."

He replied: "I'm coming home."

McKie, of Wilmslow, denies murder. The trial, estimated to last between three and four weeks, continues.

Press Association

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