"This was a carefully planned murder, which is quite apparent from the evidence on your Psion organizer," Judge Jonathan van der Werff said in sentencing Gary Debruin.
Belinda Debruin's throat was slit and she was stabbed more than 100 times with a screwdriver and knives at the couple's home in a London suburb. She also suffered a fractured skull in the Dec. 1, 1999 attack.
Prosecutors told the Inner London Crown Court jury that the 35-year-old Debruin, a debt-ridden salesman, killed his wife to collect insurance on her life and tried to make the attack look like a robbery gone awry.
He disposed of his bloodstained shirt and the weapons and went to work as usual - even telephoning a travel agent to book a holiday for his wife's birthday a week later.
However, Debruin was caught by blood specks on his shoes and clothing - and by an entry made on his Psion organizer a month before his wife's death.
"Rubber glvs, throwt, take tel off hook, leave purse out with contents spread out, take chq crd and crdt crds, ring mobile just befor yo leave," read the entry, filed under "Bdb," for Belinda Debruin.
Debruin confessed to the killing but pleaded manslaughter on the grounds of provocation. He painted his wife as a cruel, domineering woman with expensive tastes who belittled him until he "completely, totally and utterly lost it."
The jury of seven men and five women was more convinced by the prosecution's depiction of 33-year-old Belinda as a devoted mother who dressed her children in designer clothes and sent them to private school.
Financial woes brought on by Debruin's failed printing business and string of lost jobs put a strain on the marriage, the court was told.
"He was simply an inadequate individual, who couldn't hold down a job, ran up debts, blamed everybody else and finally resorted to murder," said police Detective Sergeant Peter Allbut. "There is no doubt the motive was purely financial."