English ex-pilot Iain Lawrence was accused of murder after disabling his car’s airbag and unbuckling his wife’s seatbelt shortly before crashing into a tree.
While the 53-year-old man walked away with only a few bruises, his 47-year-old wife died on impact when the car crashed at 50 mph. The couple, who were married for 12 years, was seeking a divorce and had been discussing the settlement the night before. Lawrence was also aware that his wife was dating another man.
According to his wife’s friends, Mrs. Lawrence often expressed fears that her quiet husband would try to kill her. She had plans to remove herself from his life and take their 10-year-old son with her.
During the trial, Lawrence claimed that his leg spasmed and that he could not regain control of the car. However, the judge decided otherwise.
"How you got Sally into your car, and whether by trickery or force, no one but you can know,” the judge said. “I suspect it was a combination of the two."
The judge added that Lawrence had two motivations for killing his wife: one, that he would not except the end of his marriage; two, that he refused to give his wife the money from their home, despite it being in her name.
A witness at the scene of the crash said that Lawrence faked unconsciousness and he closed his eyes as a child would when pretending to be asleep.
“He was squeezing but the eye was twitching," the witness said.
Lawrence will face at least 24 years in prison for the “brutal and carefully planned” murder.