A jury in Preston Crown Court deliberated for three days before finding Ian Workman, 57, guilty of murder. Workman had told investigators his ex-wife attacked him with a knife and was fatally stabbed as he fought her off, the Daily Mirror reported.
Workman, who began crying when jurors delivered the verdict, looked at his two younger sons, who testified for the prosecution during his trial, as he was led out.
"I didn't do it, boys. I didn't do it," he said.
Sue Workman, 55, made a diary entry about her final argument with her husband on her laptop computer just before she died in April.
She recorded an obscenity-laced tirade and then her last words: "Standing, staring at me acro ..."
Workman was a car dealer and garage owner in Bolton, Lancashire, and the couple lived in a farmhouse in nearby Turton. Sue Workman had worked in the business.
She had been seeking a settlement of more than 1 million pounds ($1.55 million), while her husband offered less than 10 percent of that. Their oldest son, Grant, 24, sided with his father, while Nick, 18, and Ben, 22, sided with their mother, a split that continued through the trial.
The judge sentenced Workman to life with a minimum term of 17 years, saying he was satisfied Workman did not confront his wife intending to kill her but acted out of rage during a "bitter dispute."