THE widow of a murdered York father has been jailed for two years for trying to cover up what happened, after a High Court judge rejected her plea for mercy for the sake of their children.

Leeds Crown Court heard Susan Webb lied to police, neighbours and a court. She claimed that her husband Mark had killed himself and cleaned away bloodstains in a failed bid to prevent her killer boyfriend Brian Cox being arrested and convicted of the murder.

Mr Justice Foskett said she also failed to call an ambulance for Mr Webb, 40, a father of five, when she knew he had been seriously injured.

She wept in the dock of Leeds Crown Court today as she was jailed for two years.

The judge said: "The message has to go out loud and clear that to try to cover up a violent death will result in very serious consequences."

"Many would think your failure to alert the emergency services to the plight of your husband was inexcusable. I am not sentencing you for that - that matter is between you and your conscience. You are not the only person who could have alerted the emergency services."

He added: "One of the most distressing features of this whole sorry story has been the direct and indirect effect on a large number of innocent children."

Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway, the senior investigative officer from North Yorkshire Police, said: “The actions of Susan Webb, in the aftermath of the fatal attack on her husband, were both callous and specifically intended to frustrate the investigation.

She sustained her lies up to including her trial. I welcome her imprisonment which sends a clear message that those who lie to protect others will be found out and made to face the consequences.”

Although Webb’s lies and actions had not hindered the police investigation for long, they had given Cox enough time to get rid of his jacket and clean himself up.

A Leeds jury previously heard that Cox gave himself up in the evening of the day of the murder and by the time the police found the jacket shortly after midnight that night, it had been cleaned. Webb, 30, of Middleton Road, Acomb, was convicted by the jury of two offences of perverting the course of justice last month. She had denied both charges.

Cox, 29, of no fixed address, is serving a life sentence after the same jury convicted him of murdering Mr Webb when the father went to Kerry Munton's house in Stuart Road, Acomb, seeking his wife on March 4. The two women were friends at the time.

Susan Webb's barrister David Dixon urged the judge to be lenient and not deprive the Webbs' four children of both parents by locking her up. The judge said they would be cared for by their grandparents.

The barrister said: "She bitterly regrets having anything to do with Brian Cox or Kerry Munton and perhaps if she hadn't she wouldn't be here.

"Exactly what happened on that fateful day is still unclear. In terms of Kerry Munton, this defendant will always feel a sense of injustice that she is the only one here (in the dock)."

Ms Munton initially supported Susan Webb's lies that Cox was not in the house but later changed her story and gave evidence for the prosecution. She witnessed the murder.

The judge said Ms Munton had told "some semblance" of the truth, but Susan Webb had persisted in her lies until, for her, the "lie became the reality."