Andrew Castle, 61, was so furious at the crumbling of his 18 year marriage he planned to rig a metal armchair to the mains – and invited wife Margaret in ”for a chat.” Castle asked unwitting Margaret to sit in the chair so he could knock her her out with a cosh and throw on the switch.
But Margaret, 61, got up out of the seat and the couple then got caught up in a violent struggle. Castle landed several blows on his wife’s head with the rubber cosh but she escaped through a side door.
The fight then carried on outside their £110,000 seaside bungalow in Knott End-on-Sea in Poulton-Le-Fylde, Lancs, before a passer-by intervened and called police.
Officers examined the garage to find a length of electric cable, running from a 13 amp plug, with one end via a lamp which had an electric light bulb in it, to the bare and exposed cable ends of the cable.
When switched on at the plug, the live and neutral wires, if touched together, or to the chair would have completed a circuit.
This week at Preston Crown Court, Castle admitted attempted murder and was jailed for ten years.
According to neighbours the couple who went on walking and cruising holidays together appeared to be happy and content but trouble began when she asked him for a divorce in March this year.
One said: ”We couldn’t believe it when we heard what happened. We believe Andrew had in effect built his own electric chair to kill Margaret because she wanted a divorce.
”He managed to lure her into the garage on the pretext of them talking about it. He was about to do the deed but there was a struggle and she escaped.
”Margaret is a lovely person and everyone is very distressed that this happened. We always thought they were a lovely couple who enjoyed going on walking and cruising holidays together.
”Margaret was understandably in a terrible state after what happened to her and she moved out of the house. It’s incredible to think this man could have gone to such lengths to get even because of a divorce.”
Castle later claimed he was ”simply unable to cope” with the divorce and found it ”overwhelming.” A psychiatric report concluded he had obsessive compulsive disorder and an adjustment disorder.
Det Insp Martin Clague, from Lancashire Police said: ”It was a distressing case. He intended to kill his wife and had set plans in place to do this.
”There was an electric cable and a lamp attached to that for electrocution purposes. It is rare for someone to attempt to kill their wife, or anyone, by these means.
”The fact Castle has entered a guilty plea at least saves the family from having to go through the ordeal of listening to the evidence which could have been very distressing for them.”
“I am pleased with the result and I hope that Mrs Castle and her family will now be able to move on. We have specially trained officers continuing to supporting Mrs Castle and her family and will continue to do so for as long as they need it.”