Here are the full sentencing remarks from the Honorable Mr Justice Soole:
“Derek Ian Potter,
“You have been been found guilty of the murder of your wife Lesley Potter. On the morning of April 7 this year you strangled her to death in the home which you shared in Hill Street, Mumbles. She was then aged 66; you were 63. You had been married for 26 years.
“Having done so, you then staged a hanging of her naked body in the back bedroom in order to make it look as if she had committed suicide. You then left the house in order to collect some money that was owed to you, and to give you the opportunity to return home and purport to discover your wife’s hanging body. Shortly afterwards you contacted the emergency services to report the supposed discovery.
“You have subsequently given a varying array of false accounts. These include the suggestion that on discovering her suspended body you made repeated unsuccessful attempts to remove the ligature around her neck and thereby save her life. You sought to bolster the pretence that your wife had chosen to take her own life by reference to her physical condition, in particular her severe arthritis, and to personal matters which were said to have caused her depression.
“Lesley Potter did have severe arthritis and had suffered adversities in her life. However, as all the evidence shows, and even as you intermittently acknowledged, she was a person of strong character who confronted all these matters with huge and unremitting courage. She dearly loved her family, her children and grandchildren, and at the time of her death was looking forward to the birth of another grandchild.
“At other times your accounts descended to the suggestion that her death was the accidental result of sexual activity on her part. On yet another occasion you pointed the finger of suspicion at your son-in-law Majk Njegovan and Natalia Mikailoea-Kisselevskaia.
“Ms Mikailoea-Kisselevskaia had reported to the police that on April 25 you had confessed to her that you had strangled your wife. This of course led to the postponement of the cremation previously arranged for May 8 and the full post-mortem carried out by the Home Office pathologist. That examination in particular demonstrated external and internal bruising to the neck above the mark of the ligature; significant internal bruising to the stomach cavity; and some 30 rib fractures including two posterior fractures. These injuries suggested manual strangulation by someone on top of Lesley Potter.
“Natalia Mikailoea-Kisselevskaia’s evidence was that you had confessed to her ‘I’ve got to tell you something. I love my wife very much; but she was doing my head in, so I strangled her’. In denying part of this account and all of its meaning, you said that you had been referring to a time some six years before when you had nearly killed your wife in the course of a sex game involving strangulation. The jury evidently rejected your account and explanation.
“Thus you murdered your wife of 26 years by strangulation as you held her down by the force of you body. Resilient and courageous as was her character, she would have been no match for the strength and ferocity of your attack.
“The court has heard the most moving personal statements from Nicole Njegovan, Victoria Bull and Adrian Bull. They tell of their mother’s love and care, the true strength of her character; and of the devastation which you have wrought through her murder and through the deceit which you subsequently deployed.
“For the offence of murder the law imposes a sentence of imprisonment for life.
“The law then requires me to fix the minimum term which you must serve before you are eligible for release by the Parole Board.
“It is most important that you and everyone concerned with this case should understand what that means. The minimum term is not a fixed term after which you will be automatically released, but is the minimum time that you will spend in custody before your case can be considered by the Parole Board. It will be for the Parole Board to say, at that time, whether or not you will be released. If the Board considers that it remains necessary for the protection of the public, you will remain in custody. If and when you are released you will still be subject to licence; and this will remain the case for the rest of your life. If for any reason your licence were revoked, you would be recalled to prison to continue to serve your life sentence in custody.
“For the purpose of deciding the minimum term I must first identify the appropriate starting point under Schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. As is agreed, the statutory starting point in your case is 15 years.
“Next I must determine and take account of the aggravating and mitigating factors in this case.
“I can only take account of statutory and other aggravating factors if sure, to the criminal standard of proof, that their factual basis has been established.
“The prosecution put before me for consideration whether this murder fell within the statutory aggravating factor of significant degree of planning or premeditation. In the absence of a true account of the course of events from you, the court has to make its own assessment. You are a carpenter and admit to strength in your hands. Your interviews with police included certain telling passages which demonstrated, in words and manner, that you also have a sudden and ferocious temper which can on occasion trigger you to use those hands in an attack to the throat. You admitted to two occasions on which you had, in a flash of temper, suddenly put your hands to your wife’s throat; you contrasted this with the example you volunteered of a more severe strangulation attack on a Turkish man who had angered you on holiday.
“Whilst taking full account of what you said to Natalia Mikailoea-Kisselevskaia and your other statements of not being able to cope, I have concluded and am sure that you strangled her without premeditation, in a sudden and furious burst of temper; and that you then set about trying to cover it up by the pretence that she had committed suicide.
“The prosecution then contends that your treatment of your wife’s dead body constituted an aggravating factor within the meaning of the statutory words ‘concealment, destruction or dismemberment of the body’; and your counsel indicated agreement that it fell within the meaning of the word ‘concealment’. Whether or not your conduct in that shameful and despicable charade strictly falls within the meaning of that category, I consider that it is in any event a non-statutory aggravating factor of comparable weight. This is so in two respects. First, because you thereby treated and exposed Lesley Potter’s naked body to that terrible indignity and dishonour. Secondly, because of its very attempt to frustrate the course of justice and to cover up what you had done. But for the intervention of Natalia Mikailoea-Kisselevskaia, the consequent postponement of the cremation and the subsequent police and forensic investigation, you would have succeeded.
“I also consider that you attempt to cast suspicion on Majik Njegovan and Natalia Mikailoea-Kisselevskaia is an aggravating factor, albeit its weight is limited by the fact that it was readily disproved.
“You have a long record of convictions in the magistrates court. These end in 2009 and include one for battery and many others for offences of public disorder, the last of which was in 2009. It appears that the bulk of these were related to your alcoholism at the time. When set against the gravity and circumstances of the present case, I do not treat them as aggravating factors.
“As to statutory mitigating factors, in the light of my conclusion that your fatal assault was not premeditated, I take account of that on the other side of the scale.
“It is then submitted on your behalf that the court cannot be sure that your intention was to kill, as opposed to an intention to cause really serious bodily injury. I do not agree. I am sure that, in the moment of your sudden and furious attack, you intended to kill. As your own evidence chillingly explained, you have a very clear understanding of the difference between the use of your hands as a temporary restraint and their use to kill by strangulation. You knew what you were doing. Accordingly, there is no mitigation on that basis.
“Nor do I accept the submission that your state of mind or conduct engage the statutory mitigating factors of provocation by prolonged stress or otherwise; still less that you acted as you did in the belief that it was an act of mercy. You had no such belief. On the contrary, you acted as you did in a sudden, independent and terrible moment of hostile fury.
“I do not consider that your age of 64 provides any significant mitigation.”
Source : https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/live-updates-husband-who-murdered-15386624