A MAN accused of murdering his wife told police he had not meant to kill her.
Forty-year-old Michael Briggs was then found dead in his cell at Leeds Prison in Armley days later.
An inquest into the death of Debra Briggs at the family home in Oakes, heard about the confession yesterday.
The 37-year-old auxiliary nurse had been strangled by her husband of 18 years after they argued at the house on Dean Street in the early hours of August 7 last year.
Det Chief Insp Steve Hepplestone told the hearing: "During four lengthy police interviews Michael Briggs admitted causing his wife's death, but said he did not intend to do it.
"The cause of death was manual strangulation which would have taken between one and four minutes."
He added: "There was clearly some domestic upset and the couple had an argument that night."
He said the row worsened when Briggs had put some of the medication he was taking for a heart complaint in a drink he had made for his wife.
"The argument developed after she found the medicines in her drink," said Det Chief Insp Hepplestone.
No trace of the medication was found in her body by toxicological tests after her death.
Chief Insp Hepplestone added: "A major investigation was carried out and we were fully satisfied that he was responsible for her death and he was charged with murder.
"But early on August 12 he was found dead in his cell."
An inquest into his death has yet to take place, but will be before a jury because he died in custody.
Recording a verdict that Mrs Briggs was unlawfully killed, assistant deputy coroner Paul Marks said: "This is clearly a very tragic case."
The couple leave two children, 17-year-old Charlotte and her 14-year-old brother, Jonathan, who are now living with relatives.