Abusive pensioner, 70, shot estranged wife dead in drive-by murder days after he was ordered to pay £10k divorce bill

A CONTROLLING husband who repeatedly abused his wife shot her dead six days after being ordered to pay a £10,000 divorce settlement.

Michael Raymond Reader, 70, carried out a campaign of sickening abuse on Marion Price, 63, during their five-year marriage.


The pensioner left his wife stranded in London after being "embarrassed" by her dancing on stage at a Jersey Boys performance in the West End.

He also secretly installed a tracker on her car to "keep tabs" on her and regularly insulted her – changing her from a "fun mum" to someone "constantly on edge".

Brave Marion finally left Reader in 2017 and tried to rebuild her life away from the clutches of her evil ex-husband.

But Reader refused to let her go and battered her over the head with a mallet – leaving her with severe head injuries and broken fingers from desperately trying to protect herself.

Chillingly, she told a pal: "If anything should happen to me, it will be him.”

In December last year, the "money-obsessed" brute flew into a rage over a £10,000 divorce settlement he was ordered to pay Marion.

Six days later, he pulled up alongside her car on a motorbike and blasted her in the head with a shotgun.

Marion's blood-soaked body was later discovered slumped in the driver's seat in the village of Earls Barton, Northants.

Reader is now facing life in jail after being found guilty of murder at Northampton Crown Court.

His best mate Stephen Welch was also convicted of murder after helping Reader plot the gruesome killing and escape afterwards.

Jurors heard how Marion and Reader met online in 2012 and embarked on a whirlwind romance – marrying just months later.

But weeks later, the mum-of-two told a colleague she feared she'd made a big mistake and Reader was "not who she thought he was".

HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:

Women's Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

The monster would regularly belittle Marion and make jokes at her expenseuntil finally she left him and moved in with her mum.

It was then as their divorce was nearing completion that the grisly plot to carry out the "cold, calculated murder" was hatched.

Welch began tracking Marion's movements until December 15, when Reader lay in wait for 45 minutes for his estranged wife.

After the execution-style killing, Welch helped Reader dispose of his clothes in the River Nene – weighing them down with bricks.

Marion's body was discovered by her brother and son-in-law outside her home around three hours later after neighbours saw the car windows were smashed.

Police arrived at Reader's home later that night to arrest him and found him eating a Magnum ice cream and watching the snooker.

Instead of showing any concern for his murdered ex-wife, he was more concerned with finding his dog's medication.



During his trial, the fiend spun a web of lies to jurors and tried to dupe them into believing he was an innocent old man.

But they saw through his act and he was yesterday unanimously convicted of murder after an eight-week trial.

Detective Chief Inspector Joe Banfield, of Northamptonshire Police, said after the verdict: "Michael Reader is a manipulative, controlling bully, who could not stand the fact that Marion Price had escaped his clutches, left him, and was starting to enjoy her life again.

"The campaign of abuse Reader imposed on Marion throughout their marriage caused her to live in almost constant fear.

"He continuously put her down, ridiculed her, used threats of violence and made her life hell while they were together.

"Reader was a man obsessed with control. When Marion bravely walked out on him, it was too much for him to take and he began tracking her movements.

"Finally, after being ordered to pay Marion £10,000 as a final divorce settlement, he took the decision to murder her at close range, in cold blood."

Reader and Welch will be sentenced on December 21.


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