A former producer of British TV's The Bill has been sentenced to
17 years in prison for attempting to have his wife killed by a hitman.
David Harris, 68, whose credits included the long-running police series, attempted to hire a pair of contract killers to take out his script-writer wife so that he could cash in her inheritance, sell her house and run off with a former sex worker.
The defendant met Ugne Cekaviciute, a 28-year-old Lithuanian, in a brothel and began a five-year affair.
He used £50,000 of his wife's money to buy expensive gifts for his mistress and arrange places to meet her, which he explained away as long trips to umpire cricket matches or to care for his brother in a mental institution.
Harris built his defence on the claim that he had engaged the hitmen as research for a murder mystery novel, but a jury disagreed and returned a verdict of guilty on three counts of soliciting murder.
"I thought what was happening to me at that time, at that particular juncture, might form the basis of a good thriller" he told the court at the Old Bailey in London.
"It was based on a guy based on me, my sort of age, meets a young girl, falls in love, becomes besotted and over development decides he wants to be with her and decides what he has to do about his wife, Holly."
Initially, the TV producer approached a mechanic, Chris May, to kill his wife, but May attempted to warn her of his intentions. He then tried to find another hitman, but was filmed discussing his plans with a man who was later revealed to be an undercover police officer.
The court was told that Mr Harris had arranged the murder to look like a "mugging gone wrong".
City of London Police Detective Chief Inspector Edelle Michaels said: "His persistence was evident in his approaching not one but three different supposed hitmen.
"This has been a hugely difficult time for the victim, who has been significantly affected. The situation could have been far worse had Harris succeeded with his plan and there was an element of good fortune that one of the men Harris approached informed the police, prompting our swift response."
The judge, Anne Molyneux QC, was frank in her summing up, saying: "For your pipe dream, for your obsessive infatuation with a young woman, Ms Allinson, who had protected and nurtured you, was to die a painful and terrifying death in an isolated spot.
"Her death was to fund your life. You had used her until she had outlasted her usefulness to you.
that you wanted from her was that she should die and you should inherit her
Featured Image Credit: City of London Police