Michael Tucker and his girlfriend, 28 year old Rebecca Thorpe, were the landlords of The Compasses Inn on Lynn Road in Snettisham, near King's Lynn.
Tucker was convicted by a jury in a unanimous verdict today at Norwich Crown Court. He will be sentenced tomorrow morning.
On Tuesday 23 March, an off duty police officer who was passing the pub was called into the premises after being told that a body had allegedly been found in a freezer. In a rear shed a body was found wrapped in a duvet and polythene and strapped together with gaffer tape.
Tucker later claimed that on Tuesday 9 March 2010, he had shot Rebecca in the head with a 410 shotgun whilst she lay in the bath. He then left in her the bath for two days before transferring her to a chest freezer located in a shed in the grounds of the pub.
During a search of The Compasses Inn by forensic officers, a shotgun was discovered which was covered in tape identical to that used to wrap Rebecca’s body and traces of blood and signs of extensive cleaning were revealed after a thorough search of the bathroom.
Tucker appeared to try and continue living a normal life, running the business and employing staff before fleeing to the Isle of Wight where he was arrested for murder on 23 March 2010.
Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry, Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, who led the enquiry, commenting on the conviction, said: “We welcome the guilty verdict for murder and feel that the facts of the case show clearly that Tucker knew what he was doing and carried out a deliberate act."
“This was obviously a tragic loss for Rebecca’s family/her relatives and our thoughts are with them at this time. It is important to remember that this event was also a real shock to the local community who are not used to such horrific incidents."
DCI Fry added: “The investigation was a complex one and was further complicated by two matters.
"Firstly, Tucker had fled the scene and though contact was made with him through a friend, he was claiming to be in Kent when he was actually traced to the Isle of Wight.
"The second issue was the large amount of misinformation and speculation which was shared on social networking sites and then repeated in other media. This made it difficult to establish whether potential witnesses had read details somewhere or knew them as fact. It also led to rumours which increased the concerns of the local community.”
Family statementRebecca (Becky) was a bubbly sporty young woman whose life was callously and clinically taken from us. No amount of punishment will bring our daughter and sister back, but the memories and comfort we receive from the local people, clubs and charities that Becky had become involved with, have and will continue to help, bring us to terms with our loss.
Though now at rest Becky’s name and memory will continue with charitable events organised in her name.
We would like to thank the legal teams and jurors for ensuring that Mr Tucker received the sentence that he deserved, despite his feeble attempts to escape the full responsibility for his actions.
26 years for killer pub landlord
A Norfolk pub landlord who shot his partner while she was in the bath and then hid her body in a freezer will serve at least 26 years of a life sentence.
Michael Tucker, 50, denied murdering his partner Rebecca Thorpe, 28, at the Compasses Inn, Snettisham, in March last year. But he was found guilty after a week-long trial at Norwich Crown Court.
The jury returned their unanimous verdict after 45 minutes of deliberation.
The court earlier heard that Tucker fetched a shotgun owned by Miss Thorpe following an argument in which she threatened to leave him and prevent him from seeing his children from a previous marriage.
Tucker shot his victim in the back of the head while she was in the bath at their home above the pub. He left her in the bath for two days before moving her to a freezer in an out-house.
On March 23, an off-duty police officer who was passing the pub was called into the premises after being told that a body had been found in a freezer.
Tucker appeared to continue living a normal life, running the business, employing staff and even having sex with another woman before fleeing to the Isle of Wight, where he was arrested for murder on March 23.
Tucker's family told the Eastern Daily Press that "he could rot in hell".
Speaking to the newspaper, his niece, Kelly Stevens, said: "We are all delighted with the verdict. It has not come as a shock to us at all because we were just praying he wouldn't get away with murdering Becky.
"We were all horrified by what we read about her being shot in the bath and then kept there for two days. All the family have been reading what went on during the trial and we have all disowned him."