UK Police Inspector Who Dumped Wife’s Body in Lake Convicted of Murder

Leanne McKie, a detective constable, was found in Poynton Park, Cheshire, in September 2017. Photograph: Cheshire Constabulary/PA

A police inspector who strangled his wife and dumped her body in a lake, after she discovered he had applied for a loan in her name, has been found guilty of murder.

Darren McKie, 43, admitted the manslaughter of Leanne McKie, a detective constable, nine days into his trial at Chester crown court. On Friday a jury found him guilty of murder.

McKie will be sentenced on Tuesday. His family and his wife’s parents were in court for the verdict.

Leanne McKie’s body was found in a lake in Poynton Park, Cheshire, on 29 September last year. The court heard friends describe the couple, who had three children, as the “perfect family”.

The jury was told they had spent £63,000 on renovations to their four-bedroom home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in the months leading up to her death, and had gone on a £4,500 holiday to Portugal. They were more than £115,000 in debt and McKie had applied for loans in his and his wife’s names.

Leanne McKie, who had an Instagram account documenting the house’s transformation, was apparently unaware of the debt.

On the morning of her death she was at home when her passport and salary details, accessed from the police system by her husband, were returned after being used in an application for a £54,000 loan.

The court heard she sent text messages to her husband calling him a liar and asking: “Are we in such a mess?”

McKie left work early and returned home, arriving at the house by midday. Ten minutes later he took a call from a surveyor due to value the house later that day.

Leanne McKie’s car was seen shortly afterwards being driven away from the property; when the surveyor, Anthony Parker, arrived at about 1pm, he saw McKie walking back to the house.

The prosecution alleged Leanne McKie’s body was in the boot of the car when it was driven away.

Parker described McKie’s behaviour as “perfectly normal”. Other parents saw him laughing as he picked his children up from school.

At 10.30pm, McKie left the family home. His wife’s car was picked up by CCTV and automatic numberplate recognition cameras driving towards Mobberley, where police later found her phone, and then Poynton.

In the early hours of the morning McKie was spotted twice by officers on patrol in the area; on the second occasion he was wearing no shoes. The court heard his trainers, bearing traces of his wife’s blood, were later found in a wheelie bin.

At 3.45am, the body of Leanne McKie was found in the lake in Poynton Park. The pathologist, Brian Rodgers, said she had been strangled, with force equivalent to a karate chop, for a minute or more.

McKie was arrested at 5am. In interviews he denied any knowledge of his wife’s death; he admitted her killing six months later, when he changed his plea moments before he was due to give evidence in the trial.

In a statement, Leanne McKie’s parents, Ray and Ellen Dodd, said: “Justice has been served today. Our lives will never be the same again.

“There are no winners in this trial. We have lost our beautiful daughter and our grandchildren have lost their beloved mummy.”