A woman who tried to persuade three men to murder her ex-husband after losing a child custody battle has been jailed.
Victoria Breeden, 39, wanted ‘revenge’ on Rob Parkes and was heard asking one of them during a secretly recorded phone conversation how easy it would be ‘to make someone disappear’.
She was convicted of three counts of soliciting murder at Chelmsford Crown Court and sentenced to nine and a half years.
Jurors heard Breeden and Mr Parkes met at university in 1999 and married in 2004. But they separated in 2008 and he was granted custody of a child in 2014 ‘following protracted proceedings in the family courts’.
Prosecutor Christopher Paxton QC told them: ‘It’s this, we say, which drove the defendant in whole or in part to seek retribution against Mr Parkes. We say that one of her motivations was revenge.’
Breeden, from Littleport in Cambridgeshire, first tried to persuade Hamish Lowry-Martin to murder Mr Parkes, back in 2014.
Mr Paxton said that Breeden asked him if he would ‘do her a favour and sort out her ex-husband as he was a bastard’.
After Mr Lowry-Martin declined, the defendant asked him if he ‘knew people back in Scotland who were real nutters’ and said she could ‘get together £5,000’, Mr Paxton said.
She was also found guilty of endeavouring to induce Graham Wall, a former boyfriend, to murder Mr Parkes between October 19, 2018, and October 3, 2019.
Breeden told Mr Wall ‘you must know someone who can help me get rid of him’, Mr Paxton said.
She was also convicted of trying to persuade Earl Gernon to murder Mr Parkes on October 1, 2019.
Juror were told Mr Wall made a secret mobile phone recording of a conversation between Breeden and Mr Gernon.
He suspected that Breeden was being unfaithful and left the device on the record setting in a cupboard under the stairs at her home before he went to work, the court heard.
During the recording, Breeden asked Mr Gernon ‘how easy would it be to make someone disappear’.
Mr Justice Chamberlain, sentencing Breeden, said: ‘The evidence demonstrates that your main motivation in trying to persuade others to kill Rob Parkes was to regain custody of (a child).
‘It must be obvious to you now that that can’t happen.’
Of the recording of Breeden’s conversation with Mr Gernon he added: ‘The discussion you had was detailed, it included the way in which the murder could be done and costs of different methods.
‘You handed Earl Gernon Rob’s address and you had a large sum of money you could have used for the killing.
‘You were only thwarted because Gernon did not do what you wanted, or at least had not done so by the time police got involved.’
Mr Parkes, reading his victim impact statement to the court, said that the trial was ‘harrowing’, having heard ‘just how my ex-wife wanted to kill me’.
He added: ‘I’ve never felt as unsafe as I have in the last year.’
Mr Parkes also thanked Mr Wall for going to the police, which he said ‘prevented her from being successful’.
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