LONDON -- Airline pilot Peter Hogg, who strangled his wife and dumped her body in Britain's deepest lake, was jailed for four years Friday for a near-perfect crime that remained unsolved for eight years.
A chance search for a French tourist missing on Wast Water in the English Lake District instead turned up the perfectly preserved corpse of Margaret Hogg about 100 feet below the surface.
The body, weighted with concrete and wax-like in the chilly waters, was complete 'even down to theblack suspender belts,' the court was told during a five-day trial dubbed 'The Lady in the Lake' case by the British press.
Identifying the body from dental records, the plastic sheeting in which it was wrapped and an inscribed wedding ring her husband had forgotten to remove, police confronted Hogg eight years after he first covered up the death.
'That was a very bad moment,' Hogg said in a British Broadcasting Corp. interview after the verdict was handed down. 'I was taken completely by surprise. Although I had it very much on my mind for the first few years, towards the end of the eight years it receded more and more into the past.'
Hogg, who admitted strangling his wife, then 37, during a furious row about her lover, recalled, 'She came at me like a tiger, scratching, kicking and punching.'
'After that I had to make a decision as to whether to bring in the authorities or try to cover the matter up,' said Hogg, 57.
'I was left in the position of being in a fairly strange town with no real friends around or very close relatives to help and with two very young children to bring up.
'I felt at the time, rightly or wrongly, that if I brought the police in, for instance, they might have been taken away and I'd be taken away and who knows when it ever would have been sorted out.'
Judge Thomas Pigot said he gave Hogg a minimum four-year term for the manslaughter of his wife because of his 'exemplary character and his glowing testimonials to his qualities as a man and a father.'
'His crimes have been entirely out of character and I intended to impose the minimum sentence that was proper,' the judge said.