LONDON (AP) — A British jury on Friday convicted a classical musician of beating and strangling to death his wife, the successful concert pianist Natalia Strelchenko.
A jury on Friday found double bass player John Martin guilty of murdering 38-year-old Strelchenko, who was attacked at the couple's home in Manchester, northwest England, on their second wedding anniversary in August.
A witness who was staying with the couple said she saw Martin, 48, push Strelchenko down the stairs, repeatedly punch her and say "I want to kill her." The witness said she ran to get help; Strelchenko was found seriously injured at the home and died in a hospital soon after of head and neck injuries.
A police camera recorded Martin saying "kill me, kill me please, I have nothing to live for, I do not deserve to live" when officers arrived at the couple's home.
Martin claimed he had no recollection of the killing after taking a mix of alcohol and diazepam, which he said he'd mistaken for his anti-depressant medication.
Russia-born Strelchenko, who used the stage name Natalia Strelle, studied at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory and had performed at venues including New York's Carnegie Hall and London's Wigmore Hall.
She moved to Manchester in 2009 and married Norway-born Martin in 2013. Prosecutors said they had a volatile relationship and claimed Martin was jealous of his wife's success.
Strelchenko's family said in a statement that "she was extremely talented with much life ahead of her."
"We cannot express how devastated we are that her life has been stolen from her," they said.
Judge Laura Cox said she would sentence Martin on Monday.