Husband jailed for plot to shoot estranged wife
A JEALOUS husband who plotted and threatened to kill his estranged wife after she walked out on their 23-year marriage has been jailed for seven years.
George Wilkinson, 58, sent Julie Wilkinson and their daughter Stacey a series of “disgusting” and “terrifying” text and voicemail messages in which he vowed to kill both himself and his wife.
Hull Crown Court heard the former-union shop steward at Young’s Seafood had persuaded his friend, Brian Wilkins, to buy two shotguns, which he secretly planned to shoot Mrs Wilkinson with, and recorded suicide messages, which he called “deathbed confessions”.
David Gordon, prosecuting, said police had become involved after being tipped off by Carl Standley, who Wilkinson had asked to help him kill his wife and for lessons in loading and firing the weapons, as well as “sawing-off” the shotguns.
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He had also given him a registration number that was almost exactly the same as that of Ian Drummond, Mrs Wilkinson’s new boyfriend.
Wilkinson pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and to making threats to kill. A third charge of conspiring to murder was dropped.
The court heard Wilkinson’s life had “gone to the dogs” following the breakdown of his marriage to Julie, who was also a co-worker.
The couple had agreed to separate in September 2010 during a holiday to Turkey and put their home in Lovett Street, Cleethorpes, up for sale.
But, after his wife walked out following an argument in the early hours of February 20, Wilkinson became “embittered and lonely”, took time off work sick never to return, and relied increasingly on alcohol to get by, Mr Gordon said.
By the summer of 2011, Williamson was homeless, and was found drunk and “down and out” in a park by Brian Wilkins, who invited him to move into his house on Barcroft Street, Cleethorpes.
While living there, Wilkinson managed to persuade Mr Wilkins, a “somewhat naïve, lonely and suggestible individual” to obtain a gun licence and buy two shotguns, “spinning a yarn” about them going to Scotland to shoot grouse.
Mr Wilkins told police that Wilkinson did not have access to the guns, saying that the two keys to the cabinet had been kept by an elderly neighbour. However, unbeknown to Mr Wilkins, four copies of had been cut, and Wilkinson had kept two of them.
Charges faced by Mr Wilkins, 62, of conspiring to murder and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life were dropped.
Passing sentence, Judge Michael Mettyear said: “Over a substantial period you sent abusive and threatening text messages to Julie and to your daughter Stacey.
“They were quite shocking and disgusting, and involved vile name-calling of both women. The clarity and tone of those messages does not support the suggestion that it was just drink talking.
“Your deathbed confessions, full of self-pity as they are, demonstrate that the plan was very much in your mind at Christmas 2011, which was 10 months after you had finished work because of the breakdown of your relationship.”
Judge Mettyear added that Wilkinson was a once “hard-working and respectable man” who had lost everything.
“I accept that you have already been punished a great deal. It is easy to believe that you have a bleak future after your release from prison, and of course, a prison sentence is inevitable.”