Manchester police inspector gets life for wife’s murder
A police inspector convicted of murdering his wife who was a detective constable on the same force has today been given a life sentence with a minimum of 19 years in prison.
Darren McKie, 43, strangled Leanne McKie, 39, on 28 September last year after she confronted him having found out he had applied for loans in her name to help pay off their debts.
He was convicted of murder by a jury at Chester Crown Court on 23 March.
McKie kept Leanne’s body in the boot of her Mini close to their home in Wilmslow, Cheshire. He went about his day as normal including picking up their three children from school and taking them to sports classes.
Later that night, when they were asleep, he drove the mini looking for a place to leave her body. He eventually deposited her body in Poynton Lake, about eight miles away from their home.
Police officers on patrol in the early hours of 29 September spotted McKie as he walked home having left the Mini near the lake. He suggested to them he was returning home from a nearby housing estate. They saw him again around 45 minutes later, closer to his actual address, two miles from where they had first seen him. He was no longer wearing his shoes, refused to give them his full name and did not reveal he was a police officer. Later he told them he was looking for his wife who he thought may have been in a car accident on her way home from work. Officers recovered his trainers from a nearby bin.
Leanne’s body was discovered in the lake by a passer-by at around 3:45 am and McKie was arrested just after 5am on 29 September.
His trainers were found to have Leanne McKie’s fresh blood on them and soil that matched samples from the lake.
Phone records showed he had sent his wife four text messages in the afternoon and evening, knowing full well she was dead.
During the trial McKie admitted manslaughter but denied murder on the basis he lacked the required intention. The prosecution rejected that claim and argued that his prolonged strangulation of her, disposal of her body, lies to the police and efforts to cover his tracks showed he was guilty of murder and had tried to evade responsibility.
When he was convicted Rachael Barber from the CPS said: “This case is a tragedy for everyone involved. Darren McKie went behind his wife’s back to apply for loans in her name and when she confronted him, he murdered her.
“Having admitted killing his wife during the trial, McKie stated he had not intended to cause her really serious harm or take her life. The weight of evidence showed this to be another lie and the jury convicted him of murder.
“Leanne was clearly a wonderful mother, daughter, friend and colleague.
“His actions have deprived three children of their mother and our thoughts are with her family at this time.”
Notes to editors
- Darren McKie (DOB: 01/08/1974) had worked for the police since 1996 and was an inspector. Leanne McKie (DOB: 12/12/1977) had worked for the police since 2001 and was a detective constable. They married in 2004 and moved to Wilmslow, Cheshire in 2006.
- Rachael Barber is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in CPS Mersey-Cheshire.