A prominent Houston veterinarian and her boyfriend are accused of hiring a hitman who was really an undercover police officer to murder their exes.

Valerie McDaniel, 48, who has an eight-year-old daughter, was arrested on Friday 10 March, along with her boyfriend, Leon Jacob, 39, for plotting to kill her ex-husband and Jacob's ex-girlfriend.

At a court appearance on Monday (13 March) State District Judge Jim Wallace set bail at $50,000 (£60,000) for McDaniel, but denied bail for Jacob, reports the Houston Chronicle.

McDaniel was ordered to hand $1.2m to her ex-husband in a recent divorce settlement. Jacob, who she lived with, allegedly wanted his ex dead after she filed charges alleging that was stalking her and hit her in the face in an incident in January, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The officer posing as a hitman met the couple in an Olive Garden chain Italian restaurant and they outlined how they wanted the murders carried out.

McDaniel said she wanted her ex-husband shot, but for the murder to be made to look like a carjacking gone wrong.

Jacob wanted his ex kidnapped, threatened, and killed if she refused to cooperate. He even offered to kill her himself with an injection of potassium if she was restrained.

The couple offered to pay the fake hitman $20,000 and two Cartier watches for the crimes.

Both exes were informed of the plot by police and cooperated to stage realistic pictures of their dead bodies. The pictures were shown to the accused to obtain more information.

The couple was charged with soliciting capital murder. McDaniel left jail on Monday after posting bond on condition that she did not try and contact her daughter, who is in her father's custody.