Partner cleared of ex-boxer’s murder but convicted of manslaughter

Credit: Staffordshire Police

A woman who fatally stabbed a former professional boxer at their home has been cleared of murder, but convicted of manslaughter.

Kayley Mahood told Stafford Crown Court she acted in self defence during a row with her partner Oliver O’Toole.

Mahood was arrested after causing a single fatal wound to 31-year-old Mr O’Toole at their home in Rosliston Road, Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire, on 25 July last year.

Jurors cleared the 30-year-old of murder on Tuesday (24 January), but convicted her of the alternative charge of manslaughter, a court spokeswoman said.

The jury panel were instructed that Mahood would be guilty of the lesser offence if her actions had been unlawful and posed a “risk of some injury which was not necessarily serious”.

Prosecutors had alleged Mahood, who claimed she had been punched in the face, suffering an eye wound, intended to kill or cause really serious harm.

Oliver O’Toole died after suffering a single knife wound to the chest Credit: Staffordshire Police/PA

In her closing speech to the jury, defence QC Rachel Brand said the moderate force used to inflict the fatal injury suggested Mahood had acted out of fear.

Ms Brand said of the 4cm-deep wound suffered by Mr O’Toole: “Is this relatively shallow wound more consistent with a person who lashed out swiftly in fear to get someone away from them?

“We say the evidence here points to self-defence and that the prosecution have not proved otherwise.

“What happened was a tragedy ladies and gentlemen.

“But it wasn’t the crime of murder or the crime of manslaughter because in that crucial moment what the evidence shows you is that she only did what she honestly thought was necessary to defend herself.”

Opening the Crown’s case last week, prosecutor Caroline Goodwin QC said Mr O’Toole collapsed in his back yard after being seen slumped on a wall.

Miss Goodwin told the court Mr O’Toole, who had previously tried his hand at professional boxing, was pronounced dead at 12.32pm after paramedics called by a neighbour arrived shortly before midday.

The court heard the couple had had a “tempestuous” relationship – with violence by both parties.

DCI Dan Ison, of Staffordshire Police force’s Major Investigations Department, said, “Mahood’s actions have destroyed the lives of Oliver’s family and friends.

"There are no words or verdict which will bring Oliver back. I would like to thank his family who have shown immense strength and courage throughout.”

Mahood was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Thursday.