An ex-army Captain turned philandering city lawyer who stabbed his wife to death after she told him she was leaving him has had his minimum prison sentence reduced - because of his exemplary military record overseas.

Richard Davies-Jones, 35, of Woodfield Lane, Ashtead, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 20 years, at Guildford Crown Court in July 2011.

The lawyer killed his wife, Laura Davies-Jones, 31, a social worker and mother-of-five, in December 2010, after she told him she was leaving him as he was having an affair.

On the day of the murder, Davies Jones dialled 999 and told the operator: "There’s been a stabbing.

"My wife stabbed me, I stabbed her."

When emergency services arrived at the house he was found in their snow-covered driveway slumped over her body with a knife wound in his neck.

Mrs Davies-Jones had sustained fatal injuries after two stab wounds to her throat.

But the solicitor later changed his story, telling police his wife stabbed him and then herself.

He also claimed he had suffered memory loss during the trauma.

Sitting on May 2, three of the country’s most senior judges in the Court of Appeal reduced Davies-Jones’ minimum sentence to 18 years.

His barrister, Tracy Ayling QC, argued that his original minimum sentence of 20 years had not adequately reflected his mitigation - an exemplary military record in Botswana, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Belize.

Mr Justice King, sitting with Lord Justice McCombe and Judge Clement Goldstone QC, said the appeal court was satisfied that, given the mitigation outlined, the original sentence had been too high.

He said that while a sentence of more than 15 years had been deserved, a more appropriate increase would have been three years, not five.

The court rejected a challenge by Davies-Jones against his conviction.