Ex-bus driver choked wife to death after mocking her in ‘Punch and Judy’ voice

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An ex-bus driver choked his wife to death after mocking her in a “Punch and Judy” voice.

Keith Bettison, 73, murdered his wife Ildiko, 48, at their home in Chessington, Surrey, on October 31, 2020.

When police questioned him about the murder, his reply was: “I killed the b***h, what more do you want to know.”

The Old Bailey heard that Ildiko used to “idolise” her husband and would do anything for him.

But two years prior to the murder, their relationship changed and the couple began arguing and drinking excessively.

Keith crashed a bus while reversing and left his job before he could be sacked in June 2020.

Due to the pandemic, the couple spent more time together at home and things became “very difficult”, according to prosecutor Kate Bex QC.



The night before her murder, Ildiko Bettison turned up on her neighbour’s doorstep and showed her the bruises she had
The night before her murder, Ildiko Bettison turned up on her neighbour’s doorstep and showed her the bruises she had

A neighbour heard a lot of the couple’s rows because the walls between their houses were thin, jurors heard.

Ms Bex said: “She says that not long before Ilde died, she had fallen down the stairs when she was drunk.

“She heard the defendant tormenting her by mimicking her in a squeaky Punch and Judy type of voice. She heard him call her a fat cow.”

The night before her murder, Ildiko turned up on her neighbour’s doorstep and showed her the bruises on her arms and legs, saying “it was him”.

At 1am the following morning, Keith called his daughter and said: “I’ve killed her. I could not take it anymore.”

He then proceeded to ring 999, saying: “We had a fight and I think I’ve killed her, she’s dead.”

Police found the 48-year-old lying semi-naked and collapsed in bed and she was pronounced dead shortly after 2am.

The prosecution claimed the man probably held his wife down from behind, for between 15 and 30 seconds.

The 73-year-old claims he only held her throat for a few seconds after she drunkenly accused him of having an affair.

The prosecution suggested the position of Ildiko’s body on the bed was inconsistent with the defendant’s account.

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Keith denied murder but was found guilty by a jury and was sentenced to 14 years behind bars.

Judge Simon Mayo QC paid tribute to the couple’s daughter, Zsuzsika Bettison, for her “quiet dignity” in the trial.

The judge told the defendant: “It is apparent to me, notwithstanding what you did to her mother, she still cares for you.”

He said Keith’s taunting behaviour towards his wife was cruel, saying: “She did not deserve that – she certainly did not deserve to die.”

He went on: “This was a killing which occurred in the heat of the moment. It did not involve a significant degree of premeditation and planning.

“I am entirely satisfied you were irritated by her behaviour that night and you acted in anger when you strangled her to death.”