Killer who bludgeoned wife to death then went to pub wins £200,000 from her estate
A killer who bludgeoned his wife to death has won a court battle to claim a portion of his wife’s £2.5million estate after the BT executive battered her with a chopping board. Leslie Winnister, 70, stands to inherit £200,000 despite serving an indefinite hospital order sentence for the killing of his wife Suzanne in 2020. Winnister killed his wife of 40 years while convinced by a delusion that Mrs Winnister, then 66, was having an affair and poisoned him.
Suzanne Winnister died from multiple head and neck injuries after she was bludgeoned
The ex-BT treasurer was sentenced after admitting manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.
He stands to inherit the six-figure sum that would have gone to her heirs after lawyers appealed to the High Court in London.
Courts heard Winnister is confined at the Bracton medical centre in Dartford, Kent, after judges found he was “suffering from severe depression with psychotic features”.
While those convicted of manslaughter typically do not have claim on a victim’s estate, Winnister’s lawyers argued that his situation fits within a loophole.
His lawyer Owen Curry said the Forfeiture Act drafted in 1982 allows lawyers to alter the rule in “exceptional circumstances”.
He argued that his client’s situation falls within this classification, given Winnister’s diminished responsibility.
The barrister asked the judge to consider that while the killing was “tragic and shocking”, his client had “low or very low culpability for what happened”.
William East, the lawyer for Mrs Winnister’s mother and nephew, argued that Winnister “understood what he was doing and he knew that it was wrong”.
Winnister has won around £200,000
Lawyers struck a deal that he receive a 17.5 per cent share from the inheritance of all but two of his wife’s heirs.
His wife’s will, written in 2013, meant Winnister would have inherited her estate, valued between £2million and £2.5million.
High Court judge Chief Master Karen Shuman ruled Winnister can inherit the portion, thought to total more than £200,000 from property and bank accounts.
The sum will come from parts of the estate shared between five of her seven “default” heirs, her nephew Daniel Andrews, niece Kathryn Cox and close friend Beverley Johnson.
His portion will not include shares of the estate given to her mother, Sheila, and nephew James Higgins.
Winnister’s lawyers have admitted that he is a rich man in his own right.
Mr Curry said he has “significant resources”, with assets totalling more than £1million.
He told the judge his client was seeking a small portion of his wife’s fortune.
Police arrested Winnister after Mrs Winnister’s niece Kate Cox and her husband discovered her body at her and Winnister’s shared home in Bexley, Kent, on September 8, 2020.
They had visited the property when they couldn’t reach her phone, and Mr Cox discovered his aunt-in-law lying in a pool of blood with her throat slashed and the marble chopping board used to kill her next to her head.
Police later discovered Winnister covered in blood at a nearby graveyard after he had gone to the King’s Head pub in Bexley high street, where he drank a pint and bought a packet of crisps.
They confirmed his wife’s cause of death was “head and neck injuries consistent with being hit on the head with a heavy blunt object”.