A British businessman who murdered his ‘mail-order’ Russian wife has died in a Turkish prison.
Chris Collier, 49, was serving a 24-year sentence for the murder of his wife Julia, 35, in their home in the Turkish Kusadasi resort in November 2010.
He bludgeoned and then smothered his wife in a fit of rage.
An inquest has been opened into his death after he passed away seven years into his jail term in 5 October after catching pneumonia.
Assistant North Staffordshire coroner Sarah Murphy said: ‘The medical cause of death was aspiration pneumonia, bacterial infection related to sepsis.
‘He had been jailed in Turkey and was being transferred into a hospital.’
Founding Phones4U salesman Collier emigrated to the popular Turkish resort in the late 1990s and ran an estate agency while his wife was a pianist.
After Mrs Collier’s murder detectives probed their relationship amid claims he had ‘bought her’ on the Internet and that she had undergone a sex change.
After the murder a woman who was friends with the couple described Julia as ‘the nicest girl you could ever meet’.
Collier was well known in Cheddleton, Staffordshire, with former neighbour Mike Worthington saying his death was a ‘tragic end’ to the life of ‘nice fun-loving’ friend.
He said: ‘I don’t know the full circumstances of how he was found guilty of killing his wife. But the man I knew wasn’t like that all.’
After Collier was sentenced in 2012, Mr Worhington said: ‘I would have liked to have seen him serve his sentence in an English prison because you hear all sorts of stories about these foreign prisons.
‘To be honest, I don’t think he is a strong enough character to be able to serve that amount of time in a prison over there.’
Collier was one of the first salesmen employed by John Caudwell when he was building his mobile phone empire, which he sold for £1.46 billion in September 2006.
Speaking after Collier’s 2010 arrest Mr Caudwell said he’d remembered him as a ‘good salesman’
He said: ‘It is shocking to hear he has been arrested for murder. It’s shocking to hear about any murder.’
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