A man who hid his wife's body for 23 years in a steel drum in the couple's suburban Australian backyard was convicted Saturday of her murder.

Frederick Boyle, 58, claimed he hid the body of Edwina Boyle out of panic after finding her dead in bed at their home on the outskirts of the southern city of Melbourne on Oct. 6, 1983.

He had pleaded not guilty to her murder at the outset of his weeklong trial, but a Victoria state Supreme Court jury found him guilty Saturday.

Boyle told the court this week he found his 30-year-old wife dead in bed with two bullets in her head and one of his neckties around her throat.

He said he thought he would be a suspect because he was having an affair, so he hid her body.

"Obviously, I didn't want to be charged with a murder I didn't commit," he told the court.

The couple migrated from Wales in 1972.

Boyle had told his two daughters their mother ran off with a truck driver, but a son-in-law found the remains in the 45-gallon drum while tidying the yard in October 2006.

Boyle faces life imprisonment. A sentencing date has not been set.