Pierre Legris: Bigamist who led double life is jailed after murdering one of his wives

Feb 28, 2015

The 61-year-old was convicted earlier today after running into money troubles which led him to murder

Pierre Legris

A bigamist has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering his wife when his secret double life began to unravel.

French national Pierre Legris will serve a minimum of 25 years in jail after standing trail at Winchester Crown Court.

The 61-year-old, also known as Alain Baron, was convicted earlier today of killing Rui Li by hitting her over the head with a blunt implement.

He then wrapped her, while she was still alive, in a building sheet at the home they shared in Burnham Drive, Bournemouth, Dorset, on May 23 last year.

The 44-year-old Chinese national, who moved to the UK in 2004, was found in the boot of a Fiat Punto car a week later on May 30.

BNPS Pierre Legris
Jailed: Bigamist Pierre Legris

The judge, Mr Justice Dingemans, said that as well as a financial motive, Pierre Legris might have murdered Ms Li because of her decision to adopt a child.

He said: "It may equally have been the fact that Pierre Legris, as a controlling person, was not prepared to deal with the apparently late decision that Ms Li had made to adopt a child from China which would have compromised his way of living."

Before the start of the trial, Pierre Legris, who is suffering from cancer, pleaded guilty to an offence of bigamy by marrying Ms Li, a nurse, in 2007 while having been married to Irene Smith since 1987.

Jailing Pierre Legris, Judge Dingemans said: "I am sure the murder of Ms Li was planned with great care and the murder weapon must have been placed for Pierre Legris to render Ms Li unconscious and without any noise.

"There was a clear intention to kill."

PA Rui Li
Victim: Rui Li

He was also sentenced to three years imprisonment to run concurrently for the bigamy offence, with no separate penalty for perverting the course of justice.

Pierre Legris, who showed no emotion when the sentence was handed out to him, had denied murder but admitted perverting the course of justice and told the court that he only moved her body after finding her dead in their home.

His son, Jonathan Legris, a former racing car driver, of Spring Road, Bournemouth, was convicted of assisting an offender by driving the Fiat Punto with Ms Li's body inside.

He was jailed for two years.

The judge said: "He was prepared to do anything for his father, that is obvious.

"My view is I still have not heard the full truth of what his father told him."

Solent Jonathan Legris
Jonathan Legris: Defendant's son arrives at Winchester Crown Court

Pierre Legris' other wife, Smith, 66, of St Clement's Road, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by providing a false alibi to her husband, who she did not know had married again, and she was also convicted of assisting an offender by hiring a storage facility to hide her husband's clothes and French passport.

She was jailed for three years on each offence to run concurrently.

Jonathan Legris and Smith were both cleared of a charge of conspiracy to murder.

The trial heard that Legris was believed to have killed Ms Li to benefit from her life insurance policy worth £300,000 to help pay off his "desperate" financial debts, including money owed to Ms Li's family in China.

The court was told that Ms Li, who drove a Porsche Boxster, also ran a massage company with her husband which provided "sexual services" and Pierre Legris would sometimes join in.

The couple were also involved in local swinging networks, the court heard.

Pierre Legris told the court that he had tried to hide his wife's body because he was worried that their unconventional sex life would be made public.

Solent Pierre and Jonathan Legris
CCTV: The pair caught on camera
BNPS Pierre Legris
PA Rui Li
Solent Jonathan Legris
Solent Pierre and Jonathan Legris
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