When Maria 'Lulu' Sosa saw a picture of her husband's crumpled body lying in a shallow grave with a bullet hole in his head - she laughed.

Roman and Maria Sosa had seemed the perfect couple after meeting in a salsa club in 2007 and marrying in 2010.

Roman and personal trainer Maria shared a love of fitness and the boxing coach admits he was smitten as soon as he laid eyes on her.

He said: "Nothing was too much trouble for Lulu who was a personal trainer. She would give me manicures, pedicures and foot rubs.

"She would rub oils onto my back and treat me to massages. It was paradise and my friends were jealous."

After they married, the couple opened their own gym in Houston, Texas, but by 2015 they had run into financial trouble.

The gym was struggling and Roman admits it put a strain on their relationship.

He hoped they would work through it but, suddenly, Maria told her husband she wanted a divorce.

Forced to live under the same roof because of a lack of funds, Roman tried to make the best of a bad situation - until he received a phone call that chilled him to the bone.

A boxer who he had previously trained contacted him to tell him his wife had hired him as a 'hitman' to murder Roman for just £1,500.

Roman said: "Unwittingly, she had approached a guy called Gustavo, to see if he could organise the hit, without realising we were friends.

“I knew him, because I’d coached him. He’d been in trouble in the past, but had turned his life around.

“At first, when he called and said he needed to see me, because someone ‘wanted to kill me’, I thought he was joking.

“Then we devised a plan, for him to wear a wire and tape her offering money to have me killed, before turning the evidence over to the cops.”

After his initial shock had subsided, Roman admits anger set in - but he still had to live with the wife who wanted him dead.

He told the Sun : "I slept with the enemy and with one eye open, all while trying to act as “normal” as possible so Lulu would continue with her plan. Keep in mind, that was the only way we could catch her in the act."

Wearing a wire, Gustavo recorded Maria organising 'the hit' and handed it to police.

But it wasn't enough to have her convicted and officers hatched a plan for Roman to pose as a corpse so a photo could be taken and shown to his wife to 'prove' he was dead.

Roman admits posing for the photo was one of the hardest things he had ever done.

What his family would think when they saw the gruesome images kept rushing through his mind, along with the horrifying thoughts that the woman he loved wanted him dead.

 

Roman faked his won death to catch his would-be killer wife.

 

The father-of-three says his daughter still can't look at the picture.

And when Maria saw the image of her husband's body, blood trickling from a bullet hole in his head, she couldn't hide her elation.

But the person showing Maria the image of her dead husband wasn't the hitman she believed him to be.

He was an undercover police officer.

After Maria had finished laughing, she asked if he was "really dead".

She was later arrested and pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder at the District Court in Conroe, Texas, and was jailed for 20 years in October 2016.

 

Lulu was later arrested and pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder at the District Court in Conroe, Texas.

 

Roman said: “Lulu was silent in court, but justice has been served.

“Still, it would be wrong to say this hadn’t had a lasting impact on me. I’ll never be the same man again."

Following his ordeal, Roman, who has also written a book about his experience, now devotes his time to public speaking to help other domestic abuse victims.