A 50-year-old Edmonton man has been arrested for allegedly trying to hire someone to kill his estranged wife.

Edmonton police said Monday they charged Manuel Goncalves with counselling the offence of murder after an undercover investigation that began on Feb. 4.

Court documents allege Goncalves tried to hire an undercover police officer to kill his wife, Heather.

Neighbours told CBC News that Heather Goncalves moved out of the couple's northside townhouse several months ago with their two young sons. They said the couple had lived there for about 10 years.

"There was a lot of noise from next door in terms of fighting, things like that," said Terry Trista, president of the complex's condo association.

Trista said Heather Goncalves complained to him recently about a man her husband hired to clean their home.

"She knew nothing about it," he recalled. "The guy had a key. He got in and said, 'I've been hired to clean the house' and it totally surprised her and the kids."

As part of a court order, Goncalves is forbidden from communicating with his wife and their two children.

Goncalves was arrested late Saturday and made a brief court appearance Monday afternoon. He's slated to return to court on Thursday.