Wife's life insurance paid 'days before killing'

Sian Hammond wearing glasses and a dark top smiling at the camear
Sian Hammond died at her home in Histon on 30 October, the court heard [Cambridgeshire Constabulary]

A mortgage broker who faced a "surging mountain of debt" had paid his wife's life insurance policy days before killing her, a court has heard.

Sian Hammond's body was discovered at a house in Primes Corner, Histon, Cambridgeshire, on 30 October.

Robert Hammond, 47, owed about £300,000 and "had eyes on the prize of Sian's life insurance payoff", Cambridge Crown Court was told.

Mr Hammond, who ran a business called Hammond Mortgage Services, denies murder.

Prosecutor Christopher Paxton KC told the court Mr Hammond "faced a surging mountain of debt and financial pressures".

On 27 October, he made sure Mrs Hammond's Legal and General life insurance policy was up to date. It would have paid out £450,000 in the event of her death, Mr Paxton said.

Three days later and just before 02:00 GMT, Mr Hammond rang 999 saying he had found his wife face down on the bed and not breathing, the court heard.

Primes Corner
Mrs Hammond's body was found at a property in Primes Corner, Histon, in October [Google]

Mr Paxton said Mr Hammond was told to perform CPR and claimed he did so, but a paramedic who attended that night "formed the view no CPR had been carried out".

Ms Hammond was pronounced dead at the scene and a post mortem examination established she "had been strangled and sustained other injuries including to her vagina", Mr Paxton told the court.

Mr Hammond was wearing a wrist fitness device which showed a "spike in the defendant's heart rate at 11:56pm on that Sunday night which remained high until 12.19am", when it stopped working, suggesting it was taken off, the court heard.

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

'Home alone'

An agent pursuing Mr Hammond for £200,000 of the debt spoke to him on the day his wife died, the court heard.

He told her the news and even though they were divorcing, "she was the mother of his children", Mr Paxton told the jury.

On 3 November, Mr Hammond asked the agent "if he was able to pay off the debt quicker, as he would be having life insurance paid to him".

Mr Paxton said he "had eyes on the prize of Sian's life insurance payoff".

The prosecutor said the couple, who had two teenage children, were "home alone" that weekend.

The trial continues.

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