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A shopkeeper who bludgeoned his postmistress wife to death as she slept then blamed an armed robber was convicted of murder today.
45 year old Robin Garbutt knew his wife Diana had been unfaithful and feared his theft of thousands of pounds from the post office they ran in Melsonby was about to be discovered.
He's been told he'll spend at least 20 years in jail
A jury at Teesside Crown Court rejected his story that a man with a gun told him ``don't do anything stupid, we've got your wife'' before robbing him as he worked in the shop, and that moments later he discovered her lifeless body in bed.
In reality, Garbutt hit his wife three times over the head with a metal bar while she slept above the Melsonby Village Shop and Post Office in the early hours of March 23 last year.
He later opened the shop as normal and served around 60 customers, then closed it again.
He dialled 999 and claimed his wife had been attacked, crying hysterically on the phone, then when a paramedic told him rigor mortis had set in, he challenged it, saying ``she's still warm''.
His story unravelled after officers delved into the secrets of his seemingly happy marriage.
They found the couple had £30,000 in credit card debts and despite the long hours he worked were making little profit in the bustling shop at the heart of the community.
The couple were due to go on holiday to the US, and Garbutt is thought to have feared that a relief postmaster would discover that thousands of pounds were missing from the business.
Garbutt shook his head as he was convicted by the jury of eight men and four women by a majority of ten to two.
His sister collapsed in tears as the verdict was announced.
Outside court, diana's mother Agnes Gaylor said: ``I am not thinking about Robin now.
``I'm not going to let Robin enter my head after today.''
In a statement read on her behalf, she said: ``Diana meant the world to us and we are still struggling to come to terms with what happened to her on that awful day.
``We loved her with all our hearts, our loss is unbearable.''