Banker 'killed wife over affairs'

A jealous banker strangled his wife because of her affairs after bugging her phones at their London home, a court hears.

Banker ´killed wife over affairs´

Neil Ellerbeck
Neil Ellerbeck recorded his wife´s phone conversations, the court heard

An "obsessively jealous" City banker strangled his wife during a row because her affairs had become "all too much" for him, an Old Bailey jury has heard.

Neil Ellerbeck, 46, recorded 127 hours of calls between wife Katherine, 45, and her lovers who included their son´s tennis coach, the court heard.

The HSBC executive, who denies murder, also "squirreled away" money, fearing a divorce would cost him his wealth.

Mrs Ellerbeck´s body was found at their home in north London in November.

Edward Brown QC, prosecuting, said: "The defendant is an ambitious and successful man. But he was a man with an obsessive and jealous nature.

"The defendant acted out of very considerable anger which got the better of the man - at the moment when the build-up of his wife´s behaviour became all too much for this obsessive and jealous man."

Wife ´bugged´

Mr Ellerbeck lived with their two children in Enfield and "on the face of it had everything - a nice house and a private education for the children".

But both he and his wife had embarked on affairs, the prosecution said.

Mr Brown said: "During the last few years their son, a very promising tennis player, had been coached at the local tennis club by Patrick McAdam.

"Kate Ellerbeck herself also used the club. But her friendship with McAdam over time turned into something deeper and they began an affair.

With heightened suspicions and jealousies the defendant killed his wife, her death very likely the culmination of a violent argument
Edward Brown QC

"She also was intimate on one occasion with a friend she had known for many years."

The court was told that the infidelity was the spark that led Mr Ellerbeck, a "controlling, jealous and secretive man", to bug his wife and later commit murder.

He bugged the home telephone and used specialist gadgets to monitor text messages sent from her mobile phone.

Police found more than 100 hours of tape recordings on a memory stick at Mr Ellerbeck´s Canary Wharf office.

They included a conversation between his wife and Mr McAdam discussing their physical relationship.

Cash withdrawn

The prosecution said Mr Ellerbeck had been systematically withdrawing cash from his main accounts to deposit elsewhere, moving £103,000 over 13 months.

A further £430,000 was moved from an account his wife did not know about to one held by his sister, the court heard.

It is alleged Mr Ellerbeck was moving the money to prepare for life after the end of his marriage.

But the court heard Mr Ellerbeck´s drinking raised tensions still further.

And jurors were told that two weeks before Mrs Ellerbeck died she confided in her sister that she wanted a divorce.

Mr Brown said: "It is with this background, with all the heightened suspicions and jealousies, that the defendant killed his wife, her death very likely the culmination of a violent argument."

Mr Ellerbeck denies murder.