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Police officer who strangled wife texted her to make it look like he didn't know she was dead

Darren McKie killed his wife after she found out he had applied for loans in her name.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Kittipong33

A POLICE OFFICER has today been convicted of the murder of his wife who was a detective constable on the same Manchester police force.

Darren McKie, 43, strangled Leanne McKie, 39, on 28 September last year after she confronted him when she found out he had applied for loans in her name to help pay off their debts.

McKie kept his wife’s body in the boot of her Mini car close to their home in Wilmslow, Cheshire. He went about his day as normal, including picking up their three children from school and taking them to sports classes.

Later that night, when they were asleep, he drove the car in search for a place to leave her body. He eventually disposed of her body in Poynton Lake, about 13km away from their home.

Police officers on patrol in the early hours of 29 September spotted McKie as he walked home, having left the car near the lake.

He suggested to them he was returning home from a nearby housing estate. They saw him again around 45 minutes later, closer to his actual address, about 3km from where they had first seen him.

He was no longer wearing his shoes, refused to give them his full name and did not reveal he was a police officer. He later told them he was looking for his wife, who he thought may have been in a car accident on her way home from work. Officers recovered his runners from a nearby bin.

Text messages

Leanne’s body was discovered in the lake by a passer-by at around 3:45am and McKie was arrested just after 5am on 29 September.

His shoes were found to have his wife’s blood on them and soil that matched samples from the lake.

Phone records showed he had sent his wife four text messages in the afternoon and evening, despite knowing she was dead.

During the trial at Cheshire Crown Court, McKie admitted manslaughter but denied murder on the basis that he lacked the required intention. The prosecution rejected this claim and argued that his prolonged strangulation of her, disposal of her body, lies to the police and efforts to cover his tracks showed he was guilty of murder and had tried to evade responsibility.

He will be sentenced on Tuesday, 27 March.

Rachael Barber from the Crown Prosecution Service said the case is “a tragedy for everyone involved”.

Having admitted killing his wife during the trial, McKie stated he had not intended to cause her really serious harm or take her life. The weight of evidence showed this to be another lie and the jury convicted him of murder.

“Leanne was clearly a wonderful mother, daughter, friend and colleague. His actions have deprived three children of their mother and our thoughts are with her family at this time,” Barber said.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings.

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Órla Ryan

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