A pensioner murdered his estranged wife in a drive-by shooting after being told to pay her £10,000 in a financial settlement, a court has been told.
Michael Reader, 70, denies murdering Marion Price, 63, as she sat in her car outside her home in the village of Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, on 15 December last year.
Northampton Crown Court heard he “bitterly resented” being ordered to pay the money a few days prior to carrying out what a prosecutor described as a “cold, calculated murder”.
He is accused of driving past her car on his motorbike and shooting her once through the window.
Mary Loram QC, prosecuting, said grandmother-of-three Price was “scared of what Reader would do” after the court settlement.
The court heard he had threatened to kill her if she left him.
Loram said: “This wasn't some terrible robbery gone wrong.
“Apart from the fact this quiet, new residential development seems an unlikely place for a desperate thief to lie in wait, Marion Price's handbag was still in the footwell of her car with her purse and money in place.
“It was only a few days earlier, on December 9, that he (Reader) was due to pay her £10,000 as a result of a final settlement of their finances.
“We will see this was an amount he would have bitterly resented. This was no amicable agreement.”
Jurors were told Reader was a “controlling husband” who placed a tracker on Price’s car after their separation in 2017, and was “obsessed with money”.
The court heard that Reader would keep large amounts of money in the house and had several bank accounts but Price was the one who went out to work.
He coerced her into handing over thousands of pounds before the couple separated in 2017, after six years of being together, jurors were told.
Price ended up giving him £54,000 after he allegedly said he would “do anything to make sure she was left with nothing”, the court heard.
However, jurors were told that in May 2017 he arrived at her mother’s house to demand £60,000 after Price emailed to say she would no longer pay his bills.
Loram said Reader hit her over the head with a mallet but was found not guilty of grievous bodily harm in 2018.
Referring to his alleged threat to kill Price, Loram said: “These are only words, but given what was to follow, you may think that they are important words.”
Price was fearful of what Reader would do after their financial case in court in November 2019, jurors were told.
The court heard Reader, who had installed the tracker on her car in the months before her death, waited for 45 minutes for Price after parking his motorbike a mile away. She was killed at about 5pm.
A neighbour noticed her car windows were smashed three hours after, and her family arrived to find her body.
When police went to Reader’s home the same day, he was eating an ice cream and had snooker on TV in the background, the court heard.
He told police he had not seen Price and denies murdering her.
She was mother to two children, and had three grandchildren.
She also helped care for her mother who lived close by to her and had been suffering from dementia.
The trial continues.