Millionaire architect Michael Morton was jailed for seven years yesterday for killing his estranged wife whose body has never been found.
Gracia Morton (pictured), a talented violinist who came from Argentina to Birmingham for advanced tuition from her brother-in-law Peter Thomas, now the retired leader of the CBSO, married Morton in 1987.
She disappeared without trace eight years ago.
Morton (67) showed no emotion as he was led to the cells at the Old Bailey yesterday, taking with him the secret of how 40-year-old Gracia died and where he disposed of her remains.
He was cleared of murder but convicted of her manslaughter after a retrial. The first jury was unable to agree on a verdict.
Gracia was last seen alive on November 12, 1997, three weeks before she was due to divorce him.
Her cash- rich bank accounts, estimated at #400,000, are still untouched and Morton could have claimed them together with a mortgage-free Kensington flat worth about #350,000 had he not been convicted.
He was not yet divorced and after seven years his wife could have been declared officially dead, enabling him to claim the estate.
Mr Thomas's wife, Constanza, who confronted Morton during the search for her sister, had described him as "eccentric, arrogant and insensitive".
The court heard how another of Gracia's sisters, Carolina, had asked Morton if he had ever hit her. "He admitted he had punched Gracia in the face once when they were in Spain," said Brian Altman, prosecuting.
After the sentence, Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, in charge of the case, said he would be seeing Morton - who he described as a bully - in prison to see whether he would reveal where Gracia's body is.
Morton (pictured), a womaniser, was said to be "besotted and still in love" with Gracia and was devastated when she left him nine months earlier.
He attempted suicide and begged her to return. But Gracia had found a new love, a new home, and was looking forward to a new life with her beloved daughter.
As the divorce proceedings became more bitter, Morton accused Gracia of trying to steal his money.
They also argued about their daughter's education, with Gracia insisting she should go to a fee-paying school.
Morton had a hatred of boarding schools because of his own unhappy experiences and was said to dislike "posh little schools where little girls went around in straw hats".
On the day she disappeared - and with only a few weeks to go to the divorce - Gracia told her solicitor she was going to see Morton about it.
Her car, containing her mobile phone, was left parked outside Morton's #800,000 house in St Ann's Road, Notting Hill, west London.
Morton claimed to police she had asked him to look after the car and their four-year-old daughter. But it was not until six years later that police discovered CCTV footage of him making a secret visit using her keys to her flat in Kensington, west London.
Morton became the prime suspect and was arrested after her family accused him of harming her. The defendant continued to be unhelpful to police as officers scoured Britain for her.
He was eventually charged in October, 2003, after detectives built up a case against him.
A jury at an earlier trial, in November last year, had failed to agree on a verdict. But at the second trial, the prosecution was able to introduce "bad character" evidence that Morton had been violent to his wife in the past.