Military man's plot to kill his wife
A DECORATED former military investigator drugged and attempted to suffocate his wife while their child slept in a room just metres away in a plot to kill her.
But Matthew Donald Riddle's murderous plan "unravelled” as his wife fought back and managed to escape their Sunshine Coast home despite cutting her feet on broken glass.
Riddle, 43, was on Friday jailed in Brisbane Supreme Court for nine years for the stupefaction and attempted murder of his wife. A jury had found him guilty of the crimes at an earlier date.
The court heard until the night of March 26, 2016, Riddle and his wife had enjoyed a "happy marriage”.
That night Riddle, a former military investigator with an "unblemished record”, spiked his wife's wine with half a dose of a prescription painkiller to make her drowsy.
As their child slept in a nearby room, Riddle offered his wife a massage in their bedroom, during which he put on a motorcycling glove he had hidden nearby. He then used his gloved hand to try and suffocate her.
Despite her drugged state the woman fought back and got Riddle off her. She managed to fight off his "persistent” attempts to suffocate her and escaped from the bedroom to the front door, cutting her feet on a broken louvre on the way.
Outside the house she began screaming for help and Riddle gave up his attack. He later handed himself into Maroochydore police where he admitted he had assaulted his wife.
But Justice David North said the remorse Riddle expressed to police at the time were "crocodile tears” as he had been plotting to murder his wife just hours before.
Justice North said it was likely Riddle had planned to use his skills as an investigator to hide the "premeditated” crime.
"Yours was in all likelihood a cunning attempt to hide the truth,” he said.
Riddle's defence lawyer Peter Callaghan said Riddle was a decorated soldier and had helped police in their investigations.
Justice North said Riddle's wife had "plainly” not forgiven him and continued to harbour "considerable ill will” towards him. The court heard she had symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Riddle was declared a serious violent offender. -NewsRegional