Corporate Executive Wins Share of Wife's $3 Million Estate Despite Killing Her After Accusing Her of Having an Affair With Their Handyman
His attorneys claimed he suffered from delusions because of lockdown-related stress.
A wealthy corporate executive who killed his wife after being convinced she was having an affair was awarded part of her $3 million estate this week. Leslie Winnister, 70, bludgeoned his wife, Suzanne, of 40 years, to death with a marble cutting board in September 2020. He believed Suzanne had become romantically involved with a handyman who worked for the couple and that she was trying to poison him.
His attorneys claimed he suffered from delusions because of lockdown-related stress. That didn't stop judges from awarding him part of his victim's estate. Read on to find out what happened during the trial, the court's rationale for the judgment, and where Winnister is now.
After Winnister admitted to killing his wife, he was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, the Telegraph reported. He was remanded to a psychiatric facility indefinitely. But Winnister's lawyers applied to the UK High Court for a share of his wife's estate. Typically, British law prevents killers from profiting from their crimes.
Suzanne Winnister was found dead at the couple's $3 million mansion in Kent, about 30 miles southeast of London, in September 2020. A marble cutting board lay near her body. Her cause of death was determined to be head and neck injuries caused by a blunt object.
After killing her, Winnister went to a local pub, where he ordered a pint of beer and a bag of chips, the Telegraph reported. Police officers later found him in a nearby graveyard wearing blood-stained clothing. "I've just had a terrible day," he told them.
Lawyers for Winnister told the court that the couple's relationship had been on the rocks since late 2019 when Suzanne sent a text to her husband which was meant for the handyman. She signed it with an "x," signifying a kiss. Winnister became convinced they were having an affair, and he accused Suzanne of trying to poison him. The judge who handed down Winnister's sentence said he had been suffering from severe depression with psychosis.
In Suzanne Winnester's will, she left her estate—valued at between $2.5 million and $3 million—to her husband. A lawyer for Winnister argued that although a person convicted of murder or manslaughter is barred by law from profiting from their crime, this was an exceptional situation. And a loophole existed to address it.
He argued that Winnister's case was "exceptional" because of his relatively low level of guilt and he should be awarded a small share of the estate, the Telegraph reported. The remainder, per the will, was to be distributed among a group of seven beneficiaries.
The argument swayed High Court judge Karen Shuman. She ruled that Winnister can inherit a part of his wife's fortune. The rest will be apportioned among the seven heirs. But the judge didn't cite her reasons for approving the settlement. She said that will come at a later date.