Sunday 15 September 2019

Jealous computer programmer stabbed wife to death after weeks of spying

Clare Munro Credit: Cheshire Police/PA Wire
Clare Munro Credit: Cheshire Police/PA Wire

Kim Pilling

A jealous computer programmer stabbed his wife to death after he subjected her to a "terrifying campaign of sinister and intrusive surveillance", a court was told.

The frenzied knife attack by Andrew Munro, 51, was the culmination of weeks of intensive spying on wife Clare, 47, who told him the day before their marriage was over, Preston Crown Court heard.

Munro used his technical expertise to track the mother of three's whereabouts with various devices after he learned she was having an affair.

He even bugged her mobile phone to enable him to remotely take video shots of her when she was away from the family home in Culcheth, Cheshire.

Andrew Munro Credit: Cheshire Police/PA Wire
Andrew Munro Credit: Cheshire Police/PA Wire

Munro was sentenced to life for her murder and was ordered to serve a minimum of 27 years in prison before he is considered for parole.

The victim's family branded the defendant a "cruel and evil monster" for killing "quite simply a magical person" who was "a pillar of her community".

They added that "nobody had a bad word to say" about Mrs Munro who ran a child-minding business.

John McDermott QC, prosecuting, said there had been marital problems for several months before November 2 last year when Mrs Munro was murdered.

It was the Crown's case the breakdown may be readily explained by the defendant's mean and controlling behaviour, he added.

His wife had began an affair last April with a man she had previously had a relationship with many years before she married the defendant, the court heard.

It followed a chance meeting between the pair earlier in 2014 when text messages were exchanged and the relationship grew.

Mr McDermott went on: " The evidence suggests Clare Munro was not proud of her affair and it is clear that in the weeks before her death had stopped seeing the man while she tried to make a go of their marriage.

"Andrew Munro had himself had extra-marital affairs both when he was married previously and during the early part of his marriage to Clare.

"His former wife also speaks of his controlling and temper-ridden personality.

"The defendant became aware of the affair. This resulted in arguments and recriminations. At first Clare Munro denied it but it became apparent that her husband was spying on her."

On the morning of her death, Mrs Munro rang her boyfriend to say she had told her husband at the Trafford Centre the previous day that the marriage was over.

"She said he could leave or stay but they would no longer be man and wife," the prosecutor said.

"He had not taken it well and was pacing around with his head in his hands, caught on CCTV at the shopping centre."

Munro was in the kitchen of the family home slicing malt loaf later that day when, without warning, he embarked upon his "savage assault" in which he stabbed his wife 51 times.

The court was played a recording of a harrowing 999 call made from the house which some family members in the public gallery and Munro chose not to listen to.

Mrs Munro was heard gasping "I'm dying, I'm dying" at the start of the call.

The prosecution said the defendant then variously addressed his wife who by this stage was incapacitated and "probably lifeless" on the kitchen floor.

Amid the sound of repeated stabbing blows, Munro calmly said: "I'm really sorry Clare. You know what you have done to me ... I am so sorry Clare that it has come to this.

"I can't believe what you have done Clare."

Mr McDermott said the defendant later provided a statement in which he said he simply lost his self control.

The prosecutor said: "It is the prosecution case that he did not - as demonstrated by the 999 call - and that this was a murder committed because of jealously, pride and anger at his wife's announcement the previous evening that the marriage was over."

Sentencing Munro, who worked for credit card firm MBNA, Mr Justice Turner told him: "The fact that Clare was seeing another man was the catalyst for this murderous attack.

"During the weeks before the murder you subjected her to a terrifying campaign of sinister and intrusive surveillance. "You used your expertise as a computer programmer to spy on her with various devices. Most chilling of all was a device on her mobile phone to take video shots of her when away from home. You made your wife's final weeks almost unbearable.

"The murder was the terrifying culmination of sinister intimidation."

PA Media

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