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'Jealous' Danny Spencer strangled his ex-wife Jane Wiggett, court is told

By The Citizen  |  Posted: July 28, 2014

Jane Wiggett

A "jealous" husband strangled his ex wife and told her friends and relatives she had gone on holiday to buy himself some time, a court heard on Monday.

Danny Spencer, 59, killed his former spouse, Jane Wiggett, 57, sometime between Monday, July 22 and the day her body was found on August 16 last year, a jury was told.

He then sold her car under a false name to amass enough money to get out of the country and set up a new life, it is alleged.

Bristol Crown Court was told that ex-scaffolder, Spencer, of Prestbury Road, went to the ground floor flat of Ms Wiggett at Mendip Road, Cheltenham, on the evening of July 24 and a struggle broke out, resulting in her death.

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Spencer denies murder.

Prosecutor Richard Smith, QC, told the court that Ms Wiggett, at 5ft 5ins and seven and a half stones, and in poor health, would not have been able to withstand an onslaught by thick-set former bouncer, Spencer.

Outlining the prosecution's case, Mr Smith said: "Danny Spencer was by his own admission a jealous man. He described himself as not happy about Jane Wiggett being in another relationship. He very much wanted to be aware of what she was doing, to remain a part of his ex wife's life. He could not let her go."

The court was told that Spencer called Jane Wiggett on the evening of July 24 - the last recorded contact anyone had with her and the last day she was seen alive.

Despite divorcing around 10 years earlier, the couple were in regular contact. Spencer even bought her two dresses two days before she was last seen alive.

Ms Wiggett, who would stay in regular contact with friends and family, was not heard from afterwards but Spencer told them she had gone on holiday to Penzance and had been in contact with him by phone.

Phone records showed no calls had taken place, the court heard. Ms Wiggett's phone and bank cards were missing, the court was told.

Mr Smith added: "The silence of that communication, the suddenness of the cessation of calls is a clear indication of the date that she lost her life."

Ms Wiggett's body was found at home in her bed on August 16, just hours after she was reported missing. A post-mortem revealed she had been strangled. She had been placed, with her arms across her chest, and a pillow had been put on her face.

Her body was covered in a quilt.

Mr Smith said: "We say this defendant visited her flat and killed her. He called her at 7.32pm.

"It may be that was the starting point for what was to happen later that evening.

"Perhaps it was her inviting him over. Perhaps there was something that had to be discussed.

"Something happened for him to take his ex wife's life. There may have been a struggle, during the course of which Jane Wiggett struggled for her life. She was no match physically for him."

An injury on the side of Ms Wiggett's head and bruises on her arms suggest she fought for her life, said Mr Smith after being struck.

The court heard that when informed of his former wife's death, Spencer "turned off his mobile phone so that he could not be further contacted and he carried on drinking, " said Mr Smith.

Instead of going to comfort their two children, Spencer went to Humberside, on a day trip. The prosecution said he was trying to find a way out of the country.

Mr Smith added: "He has done everything he could to avoid the reality of what he found himself doing in the hope of avoiding justice and responsibility for what he had done. was a wanted man. He wanted a discreet exit from the county."

Spencer was arrested on August 19 at a hotel near Birmingham airport. He has a few items on him, including a hunting knife and a passport, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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