Mortgage broker in £300k debt ‘killed wife for insurance payout’, court told

Jury hears Stephen Hammond called 999 claiming he had found his wife in bed and not breathing at Cambridgeshire home

Sports Jun 21, 2024 IDOPRESS

Sian Hammond's life policy was paid up to be worth £450,000

A mortgage broker who was £300,000 in debt during his divorce paid for his wife’s life insurance policy before killing her,a court has heard.

Stephen Hammond,47,faced a “surging mountain of debt and financial pressures” and his wife’s life insurance policy was for a £450,000 payout in the event of her death,Cambridge Crown Court was told.

He dialled 999 just before 2am on Oct 30 2023 and told the operator he had found his wife Sian face down on the bed and not breathing.

Christopher Paxton KC,opening the prosecution case,said that Mrs Hammond,46,was pronounced dead at the family home in Histon,Cambridgeshire.

A post-mortem examination “established Sian Hammond had been strangled and sustained other injuries including to her vagina”.

Mr Paxton said Mr Hammond,who ran Hammond Mortgage Services,owed £300,000 at the time.

About £200,000 of this was to Legal and General,and an agent who was pursuing this debt called him on Oct 30.

“He told her his wife Sian had died that morning and even though they were divorcing she was the mother of his children,” Mr Paxton said.

He continued: “To the outside world they were a happy married couple with two teenage children living in an affluent part of the city. But the police investigation has revealed evidence that suggests the defendant faced a surging mountain of debt and financial pressures.”

Review the interest payments

Mr Paxton said Mr Hammond spoke to the agent again on Nov 3 and asked “if he was able to pay off the debt quicker,as he would be having life insurance paid to him,would Legal and General review the interest payments on the debt balance?

“Sian Hammond had been dead barely a week and this was the defendant’s focus,” Mr Paxton said.

He said that Mr Hammond “had eyes on the prize of Sian’s life insurance payoff”.

He had paid his wife’s life insurance policy,also with Legal and General,up to date on Oct 26. 

On Oct 27 Hammond called a debt recovery agent at Legal and General telling her to “call him on that Monday,suggesting something may have changed by then.

“We say the defendant saw Sian Hammond’s death as his way out of the crisis of debt that he was in.”

In the 999 call Hammond was told to perform CPR and claimed he was doing so,but a paramedic who attended “formed the view no CPR had been carried out”.

He said Hammond was wearing a wrist fitness device and there was a “spike in the defendant’s heart rate at 11.56pm on that Sunday night which remained high until 12.19am,before it stopped recording data,suggesting the wrist device had been taken off”.

Mr Paxton said this data “suggested the defendant was involved in some sustained physical activity at a time he claimed to be on the sofa watching television”.

Mr Hammond denies murder. The trial continues.

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