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British man jailed in US for trying to have ex-wife killed

William John Wallace
William John Wallace

A British man in California has been sentenced to nine years in prison for attempting to have his ex-wife murdered.

William John Wallace, 36, of Santa Ana but understood to originally come from Walsall in the West Midlands, tried to have his ex-wife killed during the course of their child support and custody family court hearings, the Orange County District Attorney (DA) said.

He pleaded guilty to one felony count of attempted murder and two felony counts of solicitation to commit murder, according to the DA's office.

In 2013, the former couple was engaged in a child support and custody battle, and in August that year, Wallace hired a private investigator to try to find negative information about the victim that could be used against her in court, where child support payments would be decided.

The DA's office said Wallace told the private investigator in September that he wanted his ex-wife killed.

In October, Wallace asked the private investigator if he knew of anyone who would murder her and dispose of her body.

The private investigator reported this to police, and on December 21 2013, Wallace met an undercover detective from the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD), whom he believed to be a man who could facilitate the murder.

The defendant offered to pay 30,000 US dollars for the murder and showed the undercover detective a photograph of the victim so that she could be identified.

The DA's office said Wallace asked that the murder take place after December 23 as he would be leaving the country for Christmas.