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A husband has been found guilty of murder for strangling his Thai wife after she smashed up his collection of Star Wars toys.
Rickie La Touche, 30, claimed that Pornpilai Srisroy, 28, damaged the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker memorabilia that he had built up since he was child.
During a subsequent row, he suffocated his wife then ran off sobbing to his mother who lived in a nearby street.
A relative discovered Ms Pornpilai lying dead on the couple’s double bed covered by a duvet with a pillow over her face.
La Touche later told police that his wife had smashed up his Star Wars collection as part of a campaign to make his life “hell”.
He claimed he was a henpecked husband who “flipped” after she threatened to leave him to go back to her native Thailand.
La Touche — also known as Rickie Nehls — was found guilty of murder after a trial at Preston Crown Court and jailed for life, with a minimum of 12 years.
The court heard that he met his wife in a bar while on holiday in Bangkok in 2001. He became “besotted” and they married on his fourth visit to Thailand in 2003 but she could not get a UK visa until two years later.
Once she moved to Britain, the couple had a child and lived together at various addresses before moving to a terraced house in Leigh, Greater Manchester, where she drew Star Wars sketches and he called her “Boom”.
He killed her in April during a violent row that began as soon as they woke up at 6.30am. Shortly afterwards he knocked on the door of his mother’s house in an “agitated” state.
When his mother asked him what was wrong, he replied that he had “killed her”. He stayed with his mother while another relation went to the house and discovered Ms Pornpilai’s body.
When police arrived La Touche told them: “My wife is from Thailand and she keeps threatening to leave. We argued and she said she was going to make my life hell. She’s put me through it before. I couldn’t let that happen again.
“I then just remember getting up from on top of her. I think I’ve choked her.”
La Touche denied murder but admitted manslaughter. He claimed his wife had once hit him with a pool cue and threatened to kill him when he was asleep and then “cut him up and eat him”.
He claimed that he contacted a domestic abuse hotline in the summer of last year. On the morning of her death he said she had angrily demanded to know what he had done about getting a passport for their young child.
“I felt faint and was sweating,” he said. “That must have been the point I just flipped. I don’t know how long I had hold of her.’’
A post mortem examination concluded that the cause of death was asphyxiation.
After the case, Andy Tattersall of Greater Manchester Police said: “We may never know exactly what happened that morning, but I hope that La Touche’s sentence is of some small comfort to Ms Pornpilai’s family and friends.
“La Touche will have to live the rest of his life with the awful knowledge that he is responsible for killing his wife.”