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Poisoned by wife on their anniversary.

Byline: By Emma Rowley

A HOUSEWIFE who poisoned her husband with anti-freeze, leaving him blind and deaf, was yesterday found guilty of attempted murder.

Kate Knight, 28, also caused Lee Knight brain damage and kidney failure in April 2005 when she laced his Indian takeaway meal and wine with ethylene glycol on their seventh wedding anniversary.

A jury at Stafford Crown Court took eight hours to convict Knight, of Stoke-on-Trent, following a three-week trial which heard that she stood to gain pounds 130,000 from her husband's death.

Mrs Knight hoped to pay off mounting debts by netting pounds 250,000 from his death, but he managed to survive after spending 16 weeks in a coma after being taken to hospital in April 2005.

The former brewery worker, who forged her partner's signature to take out two secret loans for pounds 17,000, gasped as the verdict was announced.

Judge Simon Tonking remanded Knight in custody for sentencing after pre-sentence reports.

He told Knight: "I will be imposing a very considerable term of imprisonment."

Mr Knight's job at the JCB plant in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, meant his wife would have received a death benefit of around pounds 130,000.

Aged 37, he still required two hearing aids and support from two specialists to give evidence at his wife's trial.

He told the court that he knew nothing of the loans, taken out in 2003 and 2004, which motivated his wife's desire to kill him.

In a statement read outside court by Peter Bate, of Staffordshire Police, Mr Knight said: "Kate has ruined my life. I lost my job, my house, everything I worked for.

"I have hardly any independence any more."

Mr Knight, who lives with his parents in Stoke-on-Trent, said that what his wife did will have a "big effect" on their nine-year-old son Jack's future.

"I hope I can make things right for him," he said.

"I'd like to have an extension built on mum and dad's house so there's a private space for me and my son."

Detective Constable Martin Smith, of Staffordshire Police, said he was "really pleased" with the verdict.

"Despite the weight of evidence against her, Kate Knight refused to co-operate with the inquiry," he said.

A statement released by the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The Crown's case was that this was a cold and calculated attack on Mr Knight.

"Knight had every intention to kill her husband by poisoning him with the toxic substance."

During the trial, jurors heard evidence that Knight asked a near neighbour, Sarah Johnson, if she knew a hitman.

Knight, who married at just 19, administered the anti-freeze to her husband in red wine and an Indian takeaway he ate on their wedding anniversary.

Crown counsel William Davis QC told the court that Mr Knight suffered kidney failure and then brain damage and was fortunate to survive.

"He is still deaf and blind and his kidneys are damaged irreparably. He could well have died," he added.

CAPTION(S):

FOUND GUILTY: Kate Knight arrives at Stafford Crown Court.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 30, 2008
Words:507
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