20 Jan 2016

Former Napier councillor's murder trial under way in Canada

9:27 pm on 20 January 2016

Former Napier City councillor Peter Beckett has gone on trial in Canada for the murder of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett, in 2010.

Mr Beckett says the couple were fishing on Upper Arrow Lake in the province of British Columbia when Mrs Letts-Beckett fell off their inflatable boat and drowned.

But police say he pushed her off, and the murder trial began today in the British Columbia Supreme Court in Kamloops.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Firestone told the jury Mr Beckett killed his wife for financial gain, citing insurance money, family inheritance, pension money, a house and a luxury vehicle as the payoff.

Mr Beckett is also charged with trying to have a cellmate arrange the murder of five witnesses while in prison, including his dead wife's mother.