A man was yesterday jailed for life after he was found guilty of murdering his estranged wife, the stepsister of Carphone Warehouse tycoon David Ross, and her new lover.
Alex Marshall was convicted of murdering 41-year-old Fiona Marshall and Richard Flippance, 44, by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court.
He was also found guilty of arson, having set fire to the property in Brampton Ash, Northamptonshire, to cover his tracks following the stabbings on April 2 last year.
Mrs Marshall had met Mr Flippance through an
internet dating agency about a month before their deaths, the court heard.
The pair had fallen in love and were thinking of living together.
Marshall, of Irchester Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire, had denied two charges of murder and one of arson.
During the trial, the jury was told that Marshall had been "spying" on his estranged wife by reading her emails and creating a fake profile on an online dating website.
Prosecutor David Fisher QC said Marshall was "obsessed" with finding out about her new relationship
and accused him of stalking Mrs Marshall on the internet.
Mr Flippance, from Thame in Oxfordshire, was staying the night at Mrs Marshall's
bungalow, situated on Manor Farm on an estate owned by Mr Ross, when they were brutally stabbed to death.
Mrs Marshall died of eight
stab wounds, and Mr Flip-pance was stabbed three times, the court was told.
During the trial, the jury heard how DNA from Mr Flippance was found in the
footwell of Marshall's car.
They also heard how Marshall was discovered with singed hair and eyebrows, and had a burn mark on the tip of his nose when examined by police following his arrest.
Giving evidence from the witness box, he blamed the injuries on a gas cooker, saying it had blown up in his face the day before the murders.
Witnesses told the court how the bungalow was engulfed in flames after it had been doused with petrol and set ablaze at about 2.40am.
Fire crews were called but
the fire was so severe they
were unable to enter. The Marshalls met while working together in Harrods in London, and married in December 1997.
They had a son, who is now seven years old, and were planning to get divorced.
Sentencing him to life in prison, Mrs Justice Rafferty said: "Alex Marshall, whatever possessed you a year ago, it featured your inability to face Fiona's contentment with another man.
Marshall was given two life sentences for the murders of Mrs Marshall and Mr Flippance and six years for arson. Mrs Justice Rafferty said he would serve a minimum period of 30 years.