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Murder accused 'spiralled into debt', court hears

Darren McKai Photo: MEN Syndication

A police inspector accused of murdering his detective wife spiralled into debt in the months before her death, a court has heard.

The body of Detective Constable Leanne McKie, 39, was discovered in Poynton Lake, Cheshire, on September 29 last year.

Credit: MEN Syndication

Her husband Darren McKie, 43, denies her murder and manslaughter.

Chester Crown Court heard the couple, who both worked for Greater Manchester Police, had spent £57,000 more than their income in the seven months leading up to her death.

Financial investigator Detective Constable Anthony Condon said the couple had £9,000 in savings in February last year, but by September the savings had gone and the couple, who had been paying almost £1,500 a month in rent while their house was being renovated, were spending more than was coming in.

Mr Condon said the couple sold their house in September 2016 and some of the equity was used to pay off debts, with other money going towards their new home in Burford Close, Wilmslow, bought in February 2017.

But, the court heard, by the time of Mrs McKie's death, the couple had more than #100,000 worth of debt - including £45,000 on credit cards, £40,000 on loans and #17,000 owed for work carried out on their new house.

They also had a mortgage of £294,000.

Mr Condon said they paid about £4,500 for a holiday to Portugal in the summer of 2017.

They had a monthly income of £3,933, but at the time of Mrs McKie's death their outgoings every month were £5,578, including debt repayments, supermarket shopping, petrol and bills.

In the eight years before Mrs McKie's death, the couple had spent more than #200,000 on credit cards - an average of £27,000 a year, the court heard.

Under questioning by Trevor Burke QC, defending, Mr Condon agreed the finances showed no evidence of McKie spending on drugs, alcohol, gambling or other women.

He also agreed there was no life insurance policy for Mrs McKie and her death had no financial benefit for the defendant.

The court has heard Mrs McKie sent her husband a text saying "liar" on the morning of her death, after discovering he had applied for a loan in her name.

Earlier on Tuesday, the court heard McKie had been seen by police walking in the Wilmslow area twice in the early hours of the morning his wife's body was discovered.

Nigel Power QC, prosecuting, said on the second occasion, when officers took him home, he was wearing no shoes and told them he had thrown them away because his "feet were rubbing".

Later that day, after his wife's body was discovered in the lake, officers recovered the New Balance trainers from a wheelie bin close to his home.

DNA tests showed the trainers had been worn by the defendant and were stained with his wifes blood, as well as having soil on them which was similar to that in the area where the body was found.

When he was charged with murder McKie told officers: "I did not kill my wife."

Mr Power told the jury:

That is the issue you will have to decide in this case, whether it was Mr McKie who killed his wife or whether it was some other person.

– Mr Power

The trial, which is expected to last three to four weeks, will continue on Wednesday.

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