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Man convicted for wife's murder after confessing in local pub

Credit: South Wales Police

A man who strangled his wife before telling police he had come home to find she had killed herself has been sentenced to life in prison.

Lesley Potter, 66, was found dead at the home she shared with her husband Derek in Mumbles, Swansea, on 7 April.

Emergency services were told by Mr Potter that he had returned home after a brief outing to collect money to find his wife hanged.

The circumstances of Mrs Potter’s death were initially deemed to be non-suspicious.

CCTV of Lesley Potter shopping a few days before she was murdered Credit: South Wales Police

But a trial at Swansea Crown Court heard suspicion fell on Mr Potter some three weeks later when he disclosed his role in the death during a conversation at the pub.

The court heard a witness contacted police on 28 April following the concerning conversation at the George Public House, telling officers: “He told me that she had not hung herself and that he had done it because he had enough of her.”

CCTV of Derek Potter at the pub where he admitted he had killed his wife Credit: South Wales Police

Potter was arrested two days later.

Despite pleading not guilty to killing his wife – insisting she had previously expressed her wish to kill herself, but that he had not played a part in her death – Derek Potter was convicted of murder and sentenced to life with a minimum of 17 years.

In a statement, Lesley Potter’s family said they now hope to grieve for the "cruel and untimely death of our mother".

Not only have we had to come to terms with the fact that he [Derek Potter] so cruelly killed our mother but we have had to listen to him tarnishing her name throughout the investigation and court case.

Our mum was very loving and caring to Adrian, Victoria and Nicole and a wonderful grandma to her five beautiful grandchildren. Sadly she was not here to see the birth of her sixth grandchild in September, as her life had been violently taken away from her. She enjoyed a drink and liked to socialise, she enjoyed playing cards with a small group of friends in the local pubs in Mumbles. She would regularly walk to the shops and stop and chat with people, she was known by many in the village and will be sorely missed.

– Family tribute

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Darren George from South Wales Police’s Major Crime Team said Mr Potter went to "great lengths to try and disguise his horrific and callous crime and remained confident up to his conviction he could evade justice".

This was an extremely challenging case for the investigation team. It has also been a tragic case which has devastated the lives of all those who knew and loved Lesley Potter. I must pay personal tribute to Lesley’s children, who have shown immense strength and dignity during the investigation and subsequent trial. I sincerely hope this week’s conviction and sentencing can in some way bring a little comfort to them as they begin to rebuild their lives.

– Detective Chief Inspector Darren George, South Wales Police