Harold Landry, who will be 79 by the time he can be considered for parole, was found guilty of murdering his wife Lucy by a jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Thursday.
Jailing the retired engineer for life, Mr Justice Foskett said the attack on Mrs Landry at their home near Pershore, Worcestershire, had been “unspeakable and unforgivable”.
Landry, 65, stood with his hands behind his back and showed no sign of emotion as the judge told him he would only be given parole if the authorities ruled that he no longer posed a threat to the public.
It emerged after Thursday’s guilty verdict that Landry had been convicted of aggravated battery in October 1994 after gunning down a love rival while living in Covington, Louisiana.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Foskett said jurors had quite rightly rejected Landry’s claim that he was guilty only of manslaughter because his wife had provoked him.
The judge told Landry: “They (the jury) did not need to hear about your previous conviction in order to reject the case that you advanced.
“There is a trait within you that, if provoked and challenged, can lead to serious violence.”
The judge also criticised Landry for claiming during his trial that his wife had threatened him with a knife shortly before he chased her from their home on the upmarket Besford Court estate.
The claim had “all the hallmarks” of a story dreamt up after the event to try to establish a defence case, the judge added.
Describing the murder itself as brutal and vicious, Mr Justice Foskett pointed out that most of the 23 stab wounds suffered by Mrs Landry had been inflicted as she was lying on the ground attempting to protect herself.