A FORMER Accrington man whose wife hired a hitman to kill him has revealed how he has forgiven her and "loves her to bits".
Karen Quinton, 44, last week admitted soliciting a man to murder her husband, Alan, 59, last November, after she became besotted with another man.
But Alan, who used to work as a driver for Blythe's Chemicals in Church, said that his wife "would never do harm to anybody" and told how he has even bought her a new wedding ring.
The couple, who have been married for 12 years, met 22 years ago when they lived across the road from each other in Clitheroe.
They moved to Cambridgeshire from their home in Tunstall Drive, Accrington, two years ago and have two children, a 22-year-old daughter, who has just graduated from university, and a 19-year-old son in the Royal Marines.
Norwich Crown Court heard that Quinton promised £10,000 to a man called Dave to carry out a contract killing but he turned out to be an undercover policeman posing as a hitman.
Michael Hubbard QC, for Quinton, said she had become besotted with another man.
He told the court how she feared losing him and planned to have her husband killed.
He said: "She was infatuated with this man to the point where she was besotted.
"Her state of mind was completely influenced by her affection for him."
The court heard that between 4 November and 23 November last year Quinton solicited the undercover policeman.
Adjourning the case for sentencing, Mr Justice Evans said: "At the time when Quinton was in discussion with the undercover police officer, she intended to go through with it.
"She will be sentenced on the basis that following the death she would have paid a killer from money from the estate or insurance policies on the deceased."
Mr Quinton said his wife's arrest on 23 November had come as a terrible shock but he forgave her from the first time he went to see her in prison and has been visiting her twice a week for the past 10 months.
He said that she had never been in trouble in her life and he did not know how she had survived 10 months in prison.
Mr Quinton had been convinced that she would come home last week and was devastated that she was not freed by the judge.
He had two bottles of champagne in the fridge, waiting to celebrate her return, and had spent hours transforming the back garden of their home with trellises and water features as a surprise for her.
He said: "I love her more than I did before. Don't ask me how but I do."