A British car salesman has been convicted of killing his wife after confessing he strangled her with a mobile phone cord.
Warren Lyttle, 52, was expected to claim Lisa Jane, 49, choked to death during a sex game that went horribly wrong when he took the witness stand at the start of his trial in the Majorcan capital Palma on Monday.
But he admitted he ended her life after an eleventh-hour plea bargain deal with prosecutors who ahead of trial were demanding a murder conviction and 20-year jail sentence.
As part of the deal prosecutors told jurors they would be satisfied with a 12-year prison sentence for the British expat.
Warren Lyttle, 52, made his dramatic confession after taking the witness stand following an eleventh-hour plea bargain with prosecutors who were demanding a murder conviction and 20-year jail sentence. Pictured: Lyttle in court today
The nine jurors returned a formal guilty verdict on a charge of homicide on Tuesday.
Judge Carmen Gonzalez will deliver her sentence in writing in the next few days, with the plea bargain deal and Lyttle’s confession making it a foregone conclusion he will be sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The charge of homicide in Spain is a halfway house between manslaughter and the more serious charge of murder and carries a ten to 15-year prison sentence.
Under Spanish law murder like homicide is a willful killing but it must also be premeditated and planned.
Lyttle was arrested in January last year after police and paramedics he called to his home in Costa de la Calma a short drive from the Majorcan holiday resort of Magaluf, found Lisa Jane dead.
A post-mortem showed the mother-of-one, who lived in Kilburn, north London but travelled regularly to Majorca to spend time with her husband, had died from asphyxia due to strangulation.
Lyttle was arrested in January last year after police and paramedics he called to his home in Costa de la Calma a short drive from the Majorcan holiday resort of Magaluf, found Lisa Jane, 49, dead
Lisa Jane had only flown to Majorca two days before she was killed in the early hours of January 23 2016 for a week’s holiday.
Her self-confessed killer, who has been behind bars since his arrest, told a judge in a remand hearing 24 hours later that she choked to death during a sado-masochistic role-play she proposed.
State prosecutors, making it clear they did not believe his claims, said in an indictment drafted earlier this year: ‘Around 3am on January 23 2106 Warren Lyttle had an argument with his wife during which with the aim of ending her life, and in a sudden, surprise and unexpected fashion, which left her unable to defend herself, he attacked her with a mobile phone cable.
‘He placed it round her neck and strangled her with it, compressing her neck and causing her death from a lack of oxygen.’
No mention was made at the start of the trial, which began shortly before midday once the nine jurors had been selected, about the sex game claims
No mention was made during the two-day trial – held at Palma’s Court for Violence Against Women – about the sex game claims.
Lyttle said when asked by state prosecutor Gabriel Rullan during cross examination why he had killed his wife: ‘We argued about money and because we had been drinking.
‘I didn’t realise she was dead at first. Afterwards I calmed down and realised she was dead.’
He recalled calling the emergency services ‘two or three times’ and admitted telling local police when they arrived: ‘I told them she wants money but I don’t have money.’
Responding to questions from his own lawyer Gaspar Oliver in a near-whisper, he added: ‘There hasn’t been a single day since January 23 2016 when I haven’t regretted what I did.
‘I lost my wife, who was my best friend, and I lost a lot of people who were friends.’
The couple’s grown-up daughter Demmi Nicole, who attended court along with her boyfriend Jordan Perez and other relatives, also gave evidence and claimed her mum had been a victim of domestic violence.
She made no eye contact with her dad, although he appeared to become emotional when he saw her walk into the courtroom.
As well as prison time, Lyttle faces having to pay his daughter 180,000 euros in compensation.
A post-mortem showed mum-of-one Lisa Jane, who lived in Kilburn, north London but travelled regularly to Majorca to spend time with her husband, had died from asphyxia due to strangulation
Demmi Nicole, who hired her own private lawyer to mount a parallel prosecution to the state one, has also asked the judge to place a restraining order on Lyttle preventing him from coming within 19 miles of her and her five-month-old son over the next 22 years.
Around 300 people held a five-minute silence organised by Calvia Town Hall in memory of Mrs Lyttle during a protest gathering the day of her death to condemn the killing,
Mr Lyttle’s mum Joan, speaking from her home in Neasden, north west London said afterwards: ‘We don’t know how this could have possibly happened.
‘It has left us in total shock. We’re still waiting to talk to Warren to find out what went on.
‘There were no problems in the marriage as far as we knew. They were happy.’
Danie Tsuts-Gordon, a friend of the victim, wrote on Facebook: ‘A massive hole in my heart. She was a darling, beautiful inside and out.’
Pictured: Lyttle’s apartment in Costa de la Calma, a short drive from the Majorcan holiday resort of Magaluf