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Lying killer is jailed for life after staging wife’s suicide

Confession: Potter confided in Natalia (below) PICTURES: PA/WNS/SOUTH WALES EVENING POST

A CARPENTER who strangled his wife in a burst of rage and staged a hanging to make it look as though she had killed herself has been jailed for life.

Derek Potter, 64, was caught only after confessing to colleague Natalia Mikhailoea-Kisselevskaia, 32 — while chatting her up in a pub and asking if she would move in with him.

He exposed his wife Lesley, 66, to ‘terrible indignity and dishonour’ by putting her naked body on display to cover up the killing, the judge told him during sentencing yesterday.

‘But for the intervention of Natalia, the consequent postponement of the cremation and the subsequent police and forensic investigation, you would have succeeded,’ Mr Justice Michael Soole added at Swansea crown court.

Crime scene: Home is now boarded up

Potter called police on April 7 to his home in Mumbles, near Swansea, where they found her body lying on a cabinet in a noose. A rope was hanging from a beam and Potter said he had cut her down after finding her.

His story was accepted until he told Russian builder Natalia on April 25: ‘I love my wife very much but she was doing my head in so I had to strangle her.’

Mrs Potter’s body was taken from a chapel of rest and a pathologist found that she had suffered 30 rib fractures and more than 30 bruises as well as strangulation. Senior officers are investigating the initial police response.

Potter, who denied murder but was convicted after a trial, was sentenced to a minimum prison term of 17 years.