A man who hacked his wife to death with a spade was jailed for life yesterday.

John McKinlay, of Haliburton Road, Easterhouse, Glasgow, was found guilty of murdering his wife, Catherine, in their home on May 19 last year.

The judge, Lord Eassie, and the jury at the High Court in Glasgow had heard how after raining repeated blows on Mrs McKinlay's head, McKinlay lifted her up to see if she was still alive.

When he found her still breathing, he smashed her skull again with the spade then stabbed her four times in the neck, severing her jugular vein.

The incident was witnessed by McKinlay's two horrified daughters, who tried unsuccessfully to stop him.

One threw a table at him and the other tried to push him away.

A neighbour who heard screams and peered through the letter box also witnessed the murder.

McKinlay, 54, then went on to his verandah to try to kill himself, plunging a knife into his stomach in front of his terrified daughters and neighbours.

During the trial, McKinlay led two defences in the hope he would be found guilty of the lesser crime of culpable homicide. He claimed he was provoked into killing his wife after allegedly discovering her in bed having sex with their son, John, 22.

The defence also claimed McKinlay's responsibility was diminished because of his mental state and low intelligence.

The jury, however, was asked to reject McKinlay's allegation about his wife and son by prosecutor Frank Mulholland, who said there wasn't a shred of evidence to back it up.

During the trial, it was suggested he was feigning severe learning difficulties so he could be sent to Carstairs rather than prison.

Pathologist Professor Anthony Busuttil said Mrs McKinlay's injuries were inflicted by someone who had ''lost it completely'' and was perhaps mentally disturbed.

He said he had seen such injuries in cases involving people who had become acutely jealous after seeing a partner in the act of sex with someone else.

Mr McKinlay Jr, who was called as a defence witness, denied the allegation.

McKinlay was put on trial in January this year but the case was aborted at the request of the defence after a relative contacted McKinlay's solicitor to claim his son had confessed to having had sex with his mother.

When asked in court this week why he had not told his solicitor about what he had seen before, McKinlay said he didn't think anyone would believe him.