Bass player guilty of murdering concert pianist wife, former Leeds artist Natalia Strelchenko

A CLASSICAL musician has been found guilty of murdering his world renowned concert pianist wife, who was a former Leeds artist, after beating and strangling her to death.

Natalia Strelchenko pictured on one of her concert programmes
Natalia Strelchenko pictured on one of her concert programmes

Norwegian national John Martin, 48, showed no reaction at Manchester Crown Court as he was found guilty of killing 4ft 11ins tall Natalia Strelchenko who was found with serious head and neck injuries at their home in Newton Heath, Manchester, on their second wedding anniversary.

Martin was cleared of the attempted murder of a male youth who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He will be sentenced on Monday.

The court heard Martin was jealous of Russian-born Ms Strelchenko, 38, because her career had taken off while his had not.

Ms Strelchenko, who had been artist in residence at Leeds College of Art and a research fellow at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. had played the piano from the age of eight and went on to gain entry to the prestigious St Petersburg State Conservatory in her homeland, the jury was told. At the “peak of her powers” she performed in concerts with a full orchestra.

She moved to Manchester in 2009 following the breakdown of her first marriage three years earlier, before she met the defendant a year later.

The court heard the pair soon embarked on a romantic relationship, but it was one which was “marked with tensions”.

Prosecutor Rob Hall said: “She complained that the defendant controlled her. He was very jealous if she was out without him ... jealousy made worse by the fact that, to all intents and purposes, her career had taken off while his had not.

“They would also argue regularly about such matters as financial affairs and who should keep the house clean.”

He said the tensions would at times reach “quite a high level” and on occasions the defendant would physically restrain her from leaving their home.

The court heard that police had been called over previous arguments between the pair.

Ms Strelchenko temporarily moved back in three days before her death ahead of starting a job in France - where she had a second home - the following month.