Essex nurse Rebecca Searing 'stabbed husband to death as he slept' at home in Harlow

Police were called to the Searings' home in Ryecroft, Harlow, on 12 February. Credit: Essex Police

A nurse who was in the depths of an "unhappy marriage" stabbed her husband to death as he slept, a court heard.

Rebecca Searing, 51, is accused of murdering her husband Paul Searing, 57, at their home in Harlow, Essex, in the early hours of 12 February.

On the first day of her trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, jurors were told that she then called the emergency services and told them she had stabbed him twice.

Police and ambulance crews arrived to find Mr Searing lying in his bed with two stab wounds to his abdomen. He later died from his injuries.

Prosecutor Alan Compton said Searing had admitted the manslaughter of her husband but denied murder, claiming she had lost control at the time.

'History of heavy drinking and violence'

The jury heard that police officers had been called to the address several times before the killing, with both Searing and her husband making allegations that they had suffered domestic abuse at the hands of the other.

Mr Compton said Paul and Rebecca Searing had "an unhappy marriage", after getting married in 2007.

"They didn't have children together although Paul had children from a previous relationship. Both would drink heavily. There's a history of police attendance at their address as a result of allegations of domestic violence, the majority of which were alleged to be by Paul on Rebecca Searing."

He said the last recorded incident had been in 2016, when Searing was seen at work with facial injuries she said had been inflicted by her husband.

The prosecutor detailed some of the alleged instances of abuse, including Searing attacking her husband with a pool cue while out drinking, him kicking her in the head after she hit him, and another occasion where he allegedly assaulted her with a glass ashtray.

Mr Compton said Searing would become a "different person" after drinking heavily, going from quiet and reserved and "switching".

He said there was no evidence Mr Searing had threatened his wife on the night she killed him, and that stabbing him as he slept indicated she intended to cause him "serious harm".

He told jurors: "What it was that caused Rebecca Searing to stab her husband remains unclear.

"When police arrived she didn't elaborate the circumstances of stabbing her husband. She didn't say that he had been violent that night, had threatened her or abused her in any way.

"Later in interview, she made no comment to the questions they asked her. Furthermore [from] examination of the evidence it appears Paul Searing was stabbed while lying in his bed, posing no immediate threat to her wellbeing.

"By her plea of manslaughter she has accepted that her actions were not lawful self-defence."

The trial, which is expected to last a week, continues.

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