06/27/2013 02:03 pm ET

Iain Lawrence, Pilot, Murdered Wife, Sally Lawrence, By Disabling Airbag, Crashing Car

Leicester Crown Court

A former airline pilot was convicted this week of murdering his wife by disabling her airbag and crashing their car into a tree.

Iain Lawrence, 53, was arrested in October 2012 after the crash in Leicestershire, England, that killed his wife, 47-year-old Sally Lawrence, Sky News reported.

Iain Lawrence, who was driving the vehicle, claimed the crash was just an accident. However, prosecutors said he deactivated his wife's airbag before the drive and unfastened her seatbelt seconds before the car hit the tree.

A witness told the court that Iain Lawrence pretended to be unconscious behind the wheel, "as if a child was squeezing his eyes shut pretending to be asleep."

Iain Lawrence told the court that he crashed the car due to a "painful leg spasm," according to Leicester Mercury. He said he did not disable the airbag, and that the couple's children must have accidentally switched it off while playing in the car.

The Lawrences, who had been married for 12 years, were going through a divorce. According the Mirror, Sally Lawrence was afraid of her husband and told a friend, "One day he will kill me."

High Court judge Justice Leggatt said he suspected Iain Lawrence got his wife into his car "by trickery or force."

Leggatt said Lawrence would serve a minimum of 24 years in prison, according to the Independent.



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