A cash-strapped young wife poisoned her husband by spiking his drinks with anti-freeze and ecstasy as she tried to kill him for a £50,000 life insurance policy, a court heard yesterday.

Lee Knight was left brain damaged, blind and deaf when his wife Kate tried to solve her financial woes, Stafford Crown Court was told.

"She tried to kill him by poisoning him and considered more than one way of doing so and her final choice, which nearly succeeded, was by putting anti-freeze in his drink," said William Davis QC, prosecuting.

"Her husband became gravelly ill and suffered kidney failure, brain damage and is deaf and blind and his kidneys are damaged irreparably."

The jury heard how Knight (28) had researched on the internet how fatal an ecstasy dose could be but turned to anti-freeze after that attempt to poison her husband, a former JCB employee, failed.

Knight, of Dovedale Court, Garrick Avenue, Moreton, Cheshire, and formerly of Waterdale Grove, Meir Hay, Stoke-on-Trent, denies attempted murder between January and April 2005.

Mr Davis said the family was in considerable debt, with bank loans and a recent re-mortgage of their home, by 2005 when Knight decided to kill her husband.

"Her motive? She had financial problems and had run up large debts and she felt her husband's life cover and a payout from his employer would be the solution to her financial woes. He worked long hours and left the family's financial affairs to his wife," he said.

"At this time she began to consider killing her husband to deal with the financial difficulties. She went on to the internet and made searches to find out the side effects of ecstasy and how fatal eight tablets would be. An overdose can be fatal and cause cause fatal liver damage.

"He was seen by his mother and workmates who said Lee Knight looked consistent with someone being unaware they were being fed drugs. There was no significant damage done to Lee Knight and his wife decided on another act - a different, potential poison.

"Then she turned to what nearly killed Lee Knight - anti-freeze, ethylene glycol. She showed a friend a bottle of wine and a container of anti-freeze in a container under a kitchen sink. She told a woman friend that she had carried out research on the internet and a small dose would give her husband kidney failure and a heart attack. He was admitted to hospital and doctors found kidney failure.

"Lee Knight did not know and Kate Knight was not telling anyone. Neurological symptoms began and he had weakness and abnormal feelings in his limbs and brain damage which led to his loss of sight and hearing."

The trial continues.