Farmer accused of murdering wife after she demanded a divorce and 800,000

By Luke Salkeld
Last updated at 8:40 PM on 12th January 2010

A businessman killed his wife and disposed of her body after she demanded an £800,000 divorce settlement, a court has heard.

Kate Prout, 55, vanished from the 276-acre farm she shared with her husband more than two years ago and has not been seen since.

Before her disappearance her husband Adrian, now 47, had fallen for another woman - Diane Bellamy - and sent her a romantic text message the morning that his wife was last seen.

Prout, who runs a business laying pipes for utility companies, then allegedly waited five days before calling the police.

Despite extensive searches, Mrs Prout's body has never been found.

Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Prout had been violent towards his wife of seven years and even threatened to kill her.

On one occasion, Mrs Prout said her husband had threatened to kill her by pushing her into the empty swimming pool at their home.

She later wrote in her diary: ' Officially separated now. I'm frightened to return. He went mad. I thought my end had come. I was very shaken.'

After the marriage collapsed, Mrs Prout was determined to get her share of the £1.3million farm in Redmarley, Gloucestershire, which they bought in 2004 for £820,000.

To pay the £800,000 she wanted, the couple would have been forced to sell land where Prout held commercial duck shoots.

Prosecutor Paul Dunkels QC said that before her November 2007 disappearance, Mrs Prout was in regular contact with family and friends.

Since then no one had heard from or seen her, she had not accessed any of her bank accounts and her passport and car were left at the farm.

Mr Dunkels told the jury she had been 'killed by the defendant, who then disposed of her body so that no trace of her has been found'.

He also read out diary extracts in which Mrs Prout claimed to be 'very, very frightened' of her husband.

While on bail Prout became engaged to Debbie Garlick, 44, who gave birth to their baby daughter last week.

He denies murder and the trial continues.

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