“Did he stab her on the doorstep? Did he immediately follow her upstairs and stab her? No. He did what all murderers do and made her a meal.” I can imagine the looks which passed between my journalist friend and the Detective Inspector as the turkey-necked defence barrister made a last ditch attempt to persuade the jury of his client’s innocence. The 65 year old with thinning white hair, lung cancer and diabetes stabbed his young Filipino wife six times in the back. The trial wasn’t about whether or not he had inflicted the wounds which left her fighting for her life. It wasn’t about the scar all the way down her chest where surgeons opened her up to save her. It was about his intention. He pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, but he told the court he didn’t want to kill her. He plunged the knife in the first time after she made a flippant remark about going into town “to find men to make babies with”. The five other wounds were to “shut her up” and “teach her a lesson”. Her affair with the salsa dance teacher had humiliated him. The tumultuous relationship, strained by the 36 year age gap, had fallen spectacularly apart and she told her husband she wanted a separation. Now it was up to 12 randomly selected strangers to decide if he would live out the rest of his years behind bars. The prosecution barrister, young and good looking, painted a different picture to his learned friend. He wasn’t the bespectacled, coughing, cuckolded pensioner, but an enraged jealous man who didn’t want anyone else to have his wife. The barrister played the 999 call in court. At first the defendant lied to the woman in the ambulance control room. He told her there had been a bad accident and his wife had fallen on a knife. When the woman in the ambulance control room asked the caller exactly what had happened, the truth came out. The jury heard the young wife’s emotional evidence and watched as the confused looking older man, who’d also sworn on the Bible, repeatedly said he hadn’t intended to kill her. Four and a half hours later the jury were asked to return a majority verdict in the attempted murder trial. Two hours later the jury was reconvened having failed to come to a decision. The judge dismissed them. Now 12 more strangers will sit and watch the young Filipino wife and the 65 year old with thinning white hair, lung cancer and diabetes and try to decide what his intention was.

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