A man was barbecued by his Thai wife after divorcing her when she ran up massive gambling debts
Toby Charnaud, 41, was clubbed to death with an iron bar and wooden staves by relatives of his ex-wife, Pannada Laoruang.
She then helped them burn his body on a charcoal fire, before chopping it up and scattering the charred remains around Kaeng Krajan National Park on the Thai-Burma border.
A Thai court heard how Mr Charnaud, who was educated at Marlborough College, sold £2.5million Latimer Manor estate near Chippenham, Wiltshire, after falling in love with 35-year-old Laoruang, whom he met in a Bangkok bar while on holiday.
The estate included a six-bedroom manor house with stables and paddocks.
After marrying, they lived with his parents in England before settling in the resort of Hua Hin, where he bought two bars to run with his new wife and became a popular figure in the local golf club.
They had a baby, but their relationship collapsed after Laoruang accumulated debts of £50,000 in high stakes card games. Mr Charnaud divorced his wife, giving her a £11,000 settlement, plus another £6,100 to help pay off her debts.
But when he visited her home after she called him to see their five-year-old son, Daniel, last March, three men tried to shoot him with a hunting musket. When the weapon backfired, they beat him to death.
Miss Laoruang later reported her husband missing to police. But in court she admitted it had been a lie, and she had in fact returned home from the market to find his body. Mr Charnaud's body was burned using 45lb (20kg) of charcoal bought earlier in the day, the court heard.
The murder was discovered only when Mr Charnaud's family in Britain became suspicious about his sudden disappearance and hired a local private detective to investigate.
After mobile phone records showed he had been at his ex-wife's house on the day he vanished, police raided the home - where two of the defendants confessed and led police to the body parts. The Charnauds' family lawyer, Boonchu Yensabai, told Petchaburi provincial court: "The only motive can be that Pannada expected to inherit everything through their son."
In a letter to the court, Mr Charnaud's 70-year-old mother, Sarah, said: "We welcomed Toby's ex-wife into our home and family until they moved to Thailand. To repay us by murdering my son is beyond my comprehension.
"One of the worst horrors of his death is the fact that the first attempt to kill him failed and he would have been aware of his murderers making their fatal attack. His fear and concern for his son would have been overwhelming.
"Toby was a wonderful father to his son and it is so unfair that a small boy has been deprived of a great father and a father has been deprived of seeing his son grow up."
Bizarrely, Mr Charnaud appeared to predict his own death in a short story which won first prize in a competition run by a Bangkok magazine shortly before he died.
It told how a British man's life collapses after he falls in love with a Thai woman. She builds up gambling debts and he is eventually murdered by one of her lovers.
Mr Charnaud's sister, Hannah Allen, said: "The story is eerie. I am sure he had his suspicions." Pannada-Laoruang denies premeditated-murder. Boontin Puipong, 31, Sattri Sripatum, 28, and Nipit Satabut, have admitted murder, but say they were provoked because Mr Charnaud interrupted them while they were drinking whisky.
All four also face charges of possessing a gun in a public place, deceiving police, and concealing the body. The case was adjourned until next month.
Murdered ex-pat was 'meal ticket'
Thai bride 'had her former husband killed'
Thai bride admits feeding ex-husband to the tigers