An architect who tried to smother his third wife with a pillow is facing jail after being found guilty of attempted murder
Clive Wille, 56, said ‘die, you bitch’ as he held down wife Sue on the bed at their home in Addiscombe, Croydon, South London, in April this year.
Wille twice bit his 38-year-old wife during the struggle, then stopped to dial 999 and say: ‘I damn near tried to kill my wife and I walked away from it and I need some help,’ the Old Bailey heard.
He showed no emotion as he was convicted by a 10-2 majority verdict and was remanded in custody to be sentenced on November 20.
Jurors in the case had not been told of a previous attempt to strangle his wife eight years ago.
The court heard how during the latest incident, Wille straddled her and used the pillow ‘with quite some force’ and for ‘at least a couple of minutes’.
Afterwards he told police: ‘I want to plead guilty to attempted murder’.
But he later changed his story, pleading guilty to a charge of threats to kill but denying that he really meant to murder his wife.
Jurors heard that on the day of the attack he had rung her and was ‘shouting and screaming’ about a problem with their bank account.
Wille, who specialised in railway architecture, was said to have suffered from depression for much of his life. Medication to treat the depression apparently gave him fainting fits, which cost him his job and left him in financial difficulty.
Sally Halkerston, prosecuting, said: ‘He tried to talk to her about money issues. At this stage the defendant was calm. However, this changed when Mrs Wille told him that she could not cope any more and wanted a divorce. He became angry and threatening.’
Wille said ‘I am going to kill you bitch’ and straddled her, sitting on her legs, the court heard.
‘He forced the pillow over her face using his arm, according to Mrs Wille. He used quite a lot of force. She couldn’t breath properly and turned her head sideways to try to get air,’ the court heard.
But he then stopped what he was doing, got off her and went next door to the living room, jurors were told.
In court he admitted that he had an ‘explosion of anger’ but claimed he never intended to kill his wife, although he wanted her to think he would.