A top TV executive who killed his wife after she overcooked his birthday dinner has been jailed for 18 months.
Jonathan Wicks, 48, punched or slapped wife Sarah, 49, once after she threw plates at him when he complained about the burned roast beef.
But the blow ruptured an artery in her neck and she died immediately at their £500,000 converted church home in Stourton, near Shipston, Warks.
He fled the scene in his car after the incident before calling a friend who persuaded him to call the police.
Wicks – who has worked on BBC1’s Holby City, the hit comedy Absolutely Fabulous and Waking the Dead – was today sentenced for 18 months for manslaughter at Birmingham Crown Court.
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told him: ”To hit a woman and see her go to the ground then leave the scene is a very unattractive thing to do.
”Whether you couldn’t face what he had done or he lost his temper, it’s still unattractive.
”You’re a man of hitherto good character who has led a respectable and successful life.
”That success encompassed what I believe to be a loving and harmonious domestic life.
”That was brought to a tragic end during a tiff between you and your much loved wife which in many other instances would have caused bruising but in this instance caused her death.
”It’s an important feature of this case that there’s no suggestion of previous domestic violence.
”It’s a further important feature of this case that the argument arose very quickly and in your own home.
”It’s not a case of the sort of yobbish violence in public which is so often a feature of one blow manslaughter cases.
”Because of the death caused only a custodial sentence is justified.”
During a four-day trial at Warwick Crown Court in May Wicks claimed he acted in self-defence after Sarah threw plates at him.
The court heard the couple were having financial problems after Wicks’ struggled to find work as a freelance locations manager while Sarah’s career in London took off.
She hosted a lunchtime party with three other couples to celebrate Wicks’ turning 48 on April 25.
The guests drank six bottles of wine and champagne, but during dinner Wicks complained that his wife had over-cooked the roast beef.
He also moaned about an ornamental log which Sarah had bought him as a present telling her he was going to take it back to the shop.
Wicks then complained when Sarah asked for help washing up after the last guest left at 8.30pm.
The couple rowed and Wicks claimed Sarah hurled five dirty plates at him and feared his petite wife was going to ”scratch my eyes out”.
Wicks retaliated with a punch or slap to Sarah’s head killing her with a single blow.
He sped away from the house in his car and telephoned a friend who persuaded him to return to the house 20 minutes later where he dialled 999.
He told an ambulance operator his wife had fallen over but he was then heard to say: ”Come on. No, no, you can’t die, not over a f**king argument.”
Paramedics arrived to find Sarah on her back on the kitchen floor surrounded with broken plates with Wicks crouching next to her.
Wicks pleaded with them to do something to help her, and said: ”What have I done? I’ve killed her. I hit her.
”She was throwing plates at me and I hit her. Oh my God, what have I done? It should be me lying there. Just hit me with a blunt object.”
Sarah was rushed to Horton Hospital in Banbury, Oxon, but was pronounced dead.
Wicks was arrested on suspicion of murder and told cops: ”I’ve just killed my wife. How do you think I feel?
”I hit her over the side of the head because she threw a plate at me.”
David Howker QC, defending, said: ”This was a trivial tit for tat argument at the end of a pleasant lunch.
”This resulted in the victim throwing plates at Mr Wicks which resulted in the blow.
”The victim does do something rather than nothing when she was struck. It might be regarded and some sort of provocation as oppose to doing nothing.
”This was a pretty rare combination of circumstances which resulted in that blood vessel rupturing at the base of her brain.”
The 110 days Wicks has already served in custody will count towards his sentence.
No family members were available for comment after the case.