Burton-on-Trent killer who stabbed partner in the heart jailed for eight years
A woman from Burton-upon-Trent who killed her partner by stabbing him in the heart has been jailed.
A jury found Kayley Mahood guilty of the manslaughter of Oliver O'Toole after he died at their home in Stapenhill on July 25 last year.
She was initially tried for murder but the judge introduced an alternative, lesser charge of manslaughter on Friday (January 21).
Mahood pleaded not guilty to both charges, claiming she stabbed Mr O'Toole in self defence. The 30-year-old was sentenced to eight years in prison today (January 27).
Victim impact statements were read out to Stafford Crown Court before sentencing.
Mr O'Toole's mother Denise said: “Nothing can prepare a parent for the death of a child and the impact it has. My son is no longer with us and he’s missed every day.
Bodycam footage shows the moment Kayley Mahood was arrested by Staffordshire Police
“He was a big part of my life and an amazing character. He had three young children who have been left very upset and confused as to what happened to daddy and where he is. How to you explain that to children?
“I look for him everywhere but he’s not here anymore. My son is dead and gone from our lives.”
Throughout the trial, jurors had been told about the couple's tempestuous relationship, during which Mr O'Toole would hit Mahood. They also heard she had previously stabbed and glassed him but she claimed this was done in self-defence.
The prosecution said that the mother-of-two was a "woman capable of great violence and rage" and someone who "always had to have the last word" in arguments.
A series of text exchanges were read to the court, including messages in which Mahood had continued sending "aggressive" messages more than a day after the start of an argument.
Witnesses also described how Mahood would lose her temper, shouting and screaming at Mr O'Toole during rows.
Both counsels agreed Mr O'Toole had hit Mahood on the morning she stabbed him, causing a cut above her left eye.
Mahood had claimed, shortly before she stabbed him, Mr O'Toole had threatened to kill her if she left their house.
She left the scene as her partner lay bleeding to death, having been "reluctant" to speak to paramedics when her neighbour had tried to put her on to them during a 999 call, the jury was told.
The court heard how she also changed her story about what happened several times, claiming Mr O'Toole had stabbed himself after beating her, she had thrown the knife in his general direction, and that that he had walked onto the blade.
But days before the start of the trial, she admitted she had "lashed out" with the knife, causing a 1.5in wound that punctured Mr O'Toole's heart. He subsequently bled to death as paramedics fought to save his life.
Following the verdict, judge Kristina Montgomery QC, told Mahood: "I’ve heard victim personal statements and they speak of an immense void in the O’Toole family.
"We’ve heard a lot about your relationship with Oliver O’Toole. From everything I’ve heard from neighbours and your friends, everything I’ve heard in the communications and everything you have told me yourself suggests there was a pattern of behaviour in your relationship.
“It was one of good and bad times but in the good times you were a harmonious couple dedicated to your children. But many times when you were together and it was acknowledged in evidence that you consumed drink and drugs socially. Then you would have vicious rows and in the aftermath there was violence.
“I find in the view that Oliver O’Toole instigated that violence and I accept from you that he used his superior physique to cause you injury and distress.
“But your reaction was always to retaliate and because of your inferior physique you employed weapons to exact your retaliation. You spoke of this response as justifiable. The reality is that this is not a justifiable response.”