A former Napier City Councillor accused of murdering his Canadian wife has opened up from inside a prison cell to tell his side of an "amazing love story".
Hastings-born Peter Beckett, 59, was elected to the Napier City Council in 1998, before moving to Canada and marrying his wife Laura Letts-Beckett after not seeking re-election.
"We just clicked," Beckett told Canadian newspaper KTW from inside a Canadian jailhouse.
"It wasn't a love-at-first-sight thing; it was more a meeting of the minds. I hate to use cliches, but it was soulmate stuff."
Beckett met his future wife, a school teacher, when she travelled to New Zealand in 1995. At the time the more than two-metre tall Beckett was operating a tourist venture at Cape Kidnappers.
"I'd been married before, I'd had breakups before, I'd fallen in love before - but this was different than that ... It's just an amazing love story," Beckett said.
The pair married in 2003, but in 2007 Ms Letts-Beckett filed for divorce.
The couple reconciled the following year, however tragic circumstances unfolded on August 18, 2010 when Ms Letts-Beckett drowned in what was thought to be a fishing accident while the two were on holiday at Upper Arrow Lake in British Columbia.
A year later Beckett was charged with his wife's murder as police alleged he pushed her off the boat.
The trial has been rescheduled several times, but Kamloops Supreme Court staff told ONE News the murder trial is due to commence in November this year.
The jury was impanelled earlier this year and a voir dire (a jurors oath and to determine the admissibility of evidence) is scheduled for September. ONE News also understands Beckett made an application for legal funding on May 20.
Beckett has also been charged with two counts of counselling to commit murder and obstruction of justice after allegedly attempting to arrange the murder of five witnesses while behind bars, including a Royal Canadian Mounted Police sergeant, an Alberta lawyer, and the parents of Ms Letts-Beckett.
"Why would I want any of these five people murdered?" Beckett said.
"I needed them. I still need them. I need them as defence witnesses. They're vital to my defence."
Beckett has said a gust of wind blew his wife overboard and he was unable to save her from drowning.
Throughout the case Beckett has dismissed four of his lawyers and was also involved in a courtroom debate with a judge.