“She was a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a daughter, a friend” - Two men sentenced for the murder of Marion Price
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Two men have today (Monday, December 21) been sentenced for the murder of 63-year-old Marion Price.
Michael Raymond Reader, 70, formerly of Booth Rise, Northampton, and Stephen Welch, 61, previously of Addlecroft Close, Northampton, were both found guilty of Marion’s murder after an eight-week trial concluded at Northampton Crown Court on Thursday, December 3.
Today, Reader was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 31 years and Welch was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 27 years.
Over the course of the eight-week trial, the jury were told harrowing details about the campaign of domestic abuse Reader had subjected Marion to throughout their marriage, before she bravely left him. And only six days after he was ordered to pay her £10,000 as part of the divorce settlement, he shot her dead.
“Before her marriage to you, Marion Price was a happy person,” said Her Honour Judge Lucking at sentencing. “But you were controlling and obsessed with money. In private, you ridiculed and undermined her.”
Throughout their marriage, Reader had abused and manipulated Marion, belittling her, making derogatory comments about her appearance, and turning the “fun mum” her children knew into someone who was “constantly on edge.” She began to lack in confidence, her work suffered, and gradually, she became depressed.
But Marion Price fought back and in 2016, she left Reader for good.
“You were incensed,” commented Judge Lucking. “You were bitter and resentful and you became jealous of her social life and obsessed with her movements.”
With the help of best friend, Stephen Welch, who was described by Judge Lucking in court as Reader’s “trusted lieutenant”, a tracker was placed on Marion’s car, allowing Reader to obsessively track her movements – to check whether she had started a new relationship and to work out her pattern of movement.
Finally, when the news that he would have to pay Marion £10,000 as a final divorce settlement came through, Reader planned her murder with Welch, and lay in wait outside her house on December 15, 2019, shooting her dead through the window of her car that night. There was nothing paramedics or members of the public could do.
“She had no idea what was about to happen,” said Judge Lucking. “But I am certain that she saw her killer at the last moment because as she was shot, she raised her hand to protect herself.”
Today, Reader and Welch were sentenced to life imprisonment with a combined minimum total of 58 years.
At 70-years-old, Reader is likely to die in prison.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Joe Banfield, said: “This has been a very complex and emotive case to investigate and I am pleased to see Reader and Welch both receive substantial sentences for the cold-blooded crime they committed.
“Marion Price was so much more than Michael Reader’s ‘victim’. She was a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a daughter and a friend. She was so loved by everyone who knew her and universally described as a lovely woman with a great sense of humour. Her memory will live on and my thoughts will remain with her family long into the future.”
At the conclusion of sentencing, the Judge commended Northamptonshire Police for their “outstanding level of commitment and professionalism to this case”, making particular reference to DCI Joe Banfield, DS Spencer Bailey, DC Stuart Jones, DC Karen Kennedy, and Analyst – Karen Eaton.