The estranged wife of a former Apple UK managing director has pleaded guilty to soliciting a £20,000 murder attempt.

Shelley Molyneux, 41, attempted to hire a hitman to take out former Apple bigwig Jon Molyneux, but was tricked into attempting to hire undercover Sunday People journalist Roger Insall instead. Insall secretly filmed the conversation when she proposed the plan.

She suggested that his death be made to look like a car accident, so she could collect his £600,000 life insurance, £230,000 savings and the estranged couples' £500,000 house. She told Insall that as her husband was only 5foot 3inches, he would be an "easy target".

Mrs Molyneux then went on a ten-day skiing trip to Canada with her children and boyfriend to furnish herself with an alibi. She was arrested in February at the airport on returning from that trip.

Jon Molyneux, 41, departed Apple in June 1999 to take up his current £175,000-a-year position as chief executive of Internet business directory

Mrs Molyneux told Insall: "I have spent 20 years with a man who has been an absolute bastard. He has been making my life hell. He wants to destroy me, but I will not let him keep doing this to me. I hate him. I want him gone forever."

The prosecution told the court that she had provided the reporter with her husband's description, his haunts, habits and the London address he shared with his 25-year old girlfriend, saying she had thought about killing him for a year.

Shelley Molyneux's defence described her client as being "desperately vulnerable" when she developed the plan. The defence also argued that Molyneux was encouraged in the plot by a private eye she contacted initially, who was paid £8,000 for the story.

The judge rejected her application for bail and will pass sentence October 18.