IT was a move that was used to deadly effect in an early James Bond film, but fortunately in real life it didn’t get the chance to work.

For when jealous husband Jonathan Papps connected his wife’s bath to the electricity mains in a bid to shock her, literally, into ending an affair, he couldn’t go through with the plan. Instead he told her he found the sinister wiring himself as he checked on a bath leak and blamed it on his wife’s lover.

However Papps, who lived in Colin Road, Worcester, confessed to detectives that he got the idea after reading a Sunday newspaper article about the electric chair in America – although the technique was most famously used during a fight in the movie Goldfinger, when Bond knocks his assailant into a bath of water and then throws in a live electric fan heater, electrocuting the man immediately.

At Hereford Crown Court in February 1988, the love triangle between 29-year-old lorry driver Papps, his wife Beverley, aged 28, and her market gardener lover Christopher Tustin, 26, of Badsey, near Evesham, was laid bare when Papps faced charges of perverting the course of justice.

The jury was told the police investigation into the case had undergone a dramatic volte-face, because officers at first suspected it was the two lovers who had plotted to kill the husband. The electric cable at the Papps’ family home in Berkeley Street, Barbourne, was fixed to the underside of the bath by bulldog clips and ran under carpets to a plug socket on the floor below in the living room.

Peter Carr, prosecuting, said detectives initially thought it was a plot by Beverley Papps and Christopher Tustin to kill Papps and get him out of the way. In fact, Tustin was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and Mrs Papps was arrested for conspiracy to murder.

But both were freed without charge after detailed questioning and suspicion switched to Jonathan Papps.

Mr Carr added: “The prosecution believe the circuit was rigged up by Papps as a device to try and frighten his wife into stopping her relationship with Mr Tustin. He falsely implied that Mr Tustin was the creator.”

The lovers’ affair began when the couple met at a Worcester nightclub and Mr Tustin would frequently visit the Papps’ home, even sleeping on the sofa at night. The bath wiring came to light in June 1987 when Papps called his wife to show her what he’d found.

With police involved and the trio in custody, Papps told the jury he had only confessed to the crime so that his wife would be freed from a police cell. He claimed his wife suffered from claustrophobia and he knew being locked up would badly affect her.

He added: “When I was told my wife and Tustin had been charged with attempted murder I was devastated. I wanted my wife freed, so I lied about wiring up the bath myself.”

But in a police interview tape played to the court he said: “I had no intention of using it (the wiring) as a lethal weapon. It was purely a frightener.”

Papps told police he had even tested the circuit himself, adding: “It bloody worked. I couldn’t believe it.”

Ironically, he didn’t know that by the time he set up the device his wife’s affair was over, although Tustin was reluctant to accept it and kept phoning the family home.

Papps also told officers of his tormented nine-year marriage, during which he claimed his wife had continually criticised him over his inability to provide for the family and taunted him, saying he “hadn’t got the guts” to put an end to the love triangle.

The jury took just three hours to find Jonathan Papps guilty of perverting the course of justice and he was sentenced to nine months in prison.

His unnecessary attempt to frame his wife’s lover for attempted murder had rebounded badly and Judge Frank Blennerhassett told him: “To implicate an innocent man in any crime, let alone such a heinous offence, is an act of wickedness which undermines the whole system of justice.”

However, in mitigation, defence counsel Christopher James pointed out: “The defendant is a man with an exemplary background who is unlikely to commit any offence ever again.”