A PRISONER has been charged with trying to have his estranged wife and her friend murdered while he was behind bars.

Andrew McGarry, aged 39, has been charged with two counts of soliciting to commit murder and three counts of encouraging or assisting in the commission of offences believing one or more crimes will be committed.

He is currently serving time at Wymott Prison in Ulnes Walton, Lancashire, a class C prison, but used to live in Horwich.

McGarry is alleged to have solicited, encouraged, persuaded, endeavoured to persuade or proposed to others to murder Heather McGarry, his estranged wife, with whom he has three children, between February 1 and June 10 last year.

He is also alleged to have solicited to commit murder of Andrea Leighton, a friend of Mrs McGarry.

The three charges of encouraging or assisting the commission of crimes are alleged to have taken place between February 1 and 10.

The charges state Colin Brady, Michael Jefferson, James Place and Michael Jefferson were alleged to have been provided with names, addresses, directions and maps by McGarry.

The defendant will appear at Bolton Magistrates Court on Monday.