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Ex-British army major David Whitelegg jailed for strangling his wife to death

  • Ex-army major jailed for 14 years for strangling wife in ‘murderous rage’
  • David Whitelegg, 55, served in both the British and Australian armies
  • Formally sentenced to 18 years jail for killing Anne Whitelegg in 2014
  • Reportedly placed $100,000 in his mother’s bank account and said sorry
  • Lied to funeral parlour and paramedics about her ‘unexpected death’
  • Court heard he most likely strangled her with a belt after argument

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An ex-army major will spend at least 14 years behind bars for strangling his wife to death with a belt before giving away their cat and apologising to his mother for having ‘stained’ the family name. Former British Army major David Whitelegg, 55, was sentenced to 18 years in jail after he claimed to have murdered Anne Whitelegg with his bare hands during an argument at their Wallan home, in the Melbourne’s north-east, on September 18, 2014. Authorities believe Whitelegg, who also served in the Australian army, most likely used a buckled belt to kill her after a heated argument – the Victorian Supreme Court heard.

Ex-British Army Major David Whitelegg Jailed For Strangling His Wife To Death

Former British Army major David Whitelegg, 55, (pictured) was sentenced to 18 years in jail, after he said he murdered Anne Whitelegg with his bare hands during an argument at their Wallan home

Ex-British Army Major David Whitelegg Jailed For Strangling His Wife To Death

Anne Whitelegg (pictured) was strangled to death by husband David Whitelegg in September, 2014. Victorian Supreme Court heard evidence he said he would rather she died than share a divorce settlement with her

The court heard the 55-year-old lost his temper as the pair argued over her intentions to formally leave him. Their marriage had been strained and Mrs Whitelegg, 59, was planning to end it. A thin woman, she was very drunk at the time Whitelegg lost control and launched at her.

‘You attacked your wife when her ability to escape from you was compromised by the alcohol she had consumed,’ Justice Jane Dixon told the former army major on Wednesday.

Whitelegg, who served in both the British and Australian armies, became increasingly delusional before he murdered his wife and believed the Australian Defence Force and ASIO were stalking him and trying to force him out of the army. After he strangled his wife, Whitelegg set about organising his affairs and then tried to take his own life. In her sentencing report Justice Dixon stated that he had bought plastic tubes and gaffer tape, ‘which you later adapted for suicide by motor vehicle carbon monoxide poisoning’.

‘You placed your wife’s body into your car alongside your wedding photos,’ she said.

‘After placing yourself on the seat next to her and holding her hands, you attempted suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. You failed in your attempt, succeeding only in making yourself very ill instead.’

Ex-British Army Major David Whitelegg Jailed For Strangling His Wife To Death

Former British Army major David Whitelegg is taken from the prison van to the Victorian Supreme Court for sentencing for murdering his wife Anne Whitelegg in September of 2014

He gave away his cat and wrote to his mother in England to admit responsibility for his wife’s death and apologise for having ‘stained’ the family name. The court also heard he had sent a large amount of money to his mother. Whitelegg also phoned a funeral parlour and said his wife had died unexpectedly.

When authorities found her body on the kitchen floor, Whitelegg said she had fallen ill.

‘You also said you missed your wife and she was your best friend,’ Justice Dixon said. Justice Dixon noted his wife died after Whitelegg’s ‘murderous rage’. The court also heard that Whitelegg had placed his wife’s body into the family car and sat next to her with the intention of then killing himself.

The judge said that he also had shown true remorse. The 55-year-old pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 years jail on Wednesday, with a non-parole period of 14 years. Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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