Bigamist jailed for life for the murder of his second wife Rui Li

27/02/2015

Pierre Legris, 61, was convicted today of killing his 44-year-old wife, Rui Li a nurse, by a jury sitting at Winchester Crown Court following a seven-week trial. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 25 years.

Pierre Legris' other wife, Irene Smith, was  found guilty of perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender and was jailed for three years. Their son Jonathan Legris, 27, was found guilty of assisting an offender and was jailed for two years.

John Montague, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wessex said: "Pierre Legris planned the killing of his second wife, Rui Li and he executed her with several blows to the head.

"He wrapped her body in plastic sheeting and disposed of her body in the back of his transit van where she remained for several days. The body was moved to a vehicle owned by Jonathan Legris who then drove it to an address and dumped the vehicle and body in the boot until it was found several days later by the police on Friday 30 May.

"In the meantime, life for the family carried on as if nothing had happened; Pierre Legris and Irene Smith were seen on CCTV the day after the killing hand in hand at a dance competition in Watford and all the family ate Sunday lunch at Irene Smith's address the following day. It was only when Rui Li's daughter raised concerns about her mother's welfare that the authorities became involved. Pierre Legris attended Bournemouth police station on Tuesday 27  May to report his wife missing.

"There followed an outstanding investigation by Dorset police working in close partnership with the Crown Prosecution Service.

"The investigation not only revealed the double life of Pierre Legris as far as his two marriages were concerned but also revealed that he and Rui Li were involved in massage and sexual services which they offered on online advertising sites. Pierre Legris' defence was that it was one of these clients that was responsible for Rui Li's death; he returning home to find his wife dead.

"Further investigations by the police revealed mounting financial commitments on Irene Smith's part who owned a number of properties. She and Pierre Legris had been planning to develop the land upon which the properties were located into a lucrative development of apartments. At the same time Rui Li was trying to repay a loan of £20,000 from her family in China and sell a property in her name which had considerable equity. It is believed that this double life and the mounting financial pressures caused by these events resulted in the cold, calculated killing of Rui Li.

"This is an outstanding example of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service working in close partnership all the way through the case from investigation and preparation to excellent presentation from skilled advocates in court to ensure that justice was done for Rui Li and her family.

"Our thoughts are with Rui Li's daughter and her family in China."

Notes to editors

Pierre Legris was convicted of murder and pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial to bigamy. In addition he also entered a guilty plea to perverting the course of justice by concealing the body of Rui LI, impeding the police investigation into her disappearance and subsequent investigation of murder.

Irene Smith was found guilty of perverting the course of public justice, and one offence of assisting an offender. Jonathan Legris was found guilty of assisting an offender. There were both found not guilty of conspiracy to murder.