A woman says she stabbed her husband of 24 years after becoming “petrified” by violence she says she was subjected to throughout their marriage.
Penelope Jackson, 66, said she “never knew what was going to happen” when she walked through the door of the home she shared with 78-year-old David Jackson.
Mr Jackson died after being stabbed three times by his wife on February 13 at their home in Parsonage Road, Berrow, Somerset.
As she gave evidence to a jury at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday 19 October, Jackson told how the couple had got together following an affair they had had while she was still married to her second husband, who went on to take his own life.
She said her daughter with her second husband grew up thinking Mr Jackson was her father, but he would threaten Jackson to “behave or I will tell her I’m not her daddy”.
Mrs Jackson, who admits manslaughter but denies murdering her husband, said she “walked on eggshells” and “lived with a knot in my stomach” throughout their marriage.
She told the jury: “I didn’t know if I was waking up to nice David or nasty David.”
She said her husband was often violent following arguments.
“It would always start out with him being verbally aggressive. It was always about me being disloyal and he would say, ‘you never loved me anyway’. He called me a ‘thing’ like I wasn’t a person.
“It would escalate, and he would shake me most of the time, he strangled me sometimes and I would go unconscious sometimes. Other times I would be semi-conscious, and I would be on the bed or the floor and if he was really angry he would kick me.”
Jackson told the court Mr Jackson would “always apologise” after the incidents.
She said in the years following her second husband’s death, she felt forced to hide mementos including photographs and love letters from him, fearing they would be destroyed by Mr Jackson who she said had taken an axe to furniture one night in 1996.
Jackson told the jury: “I always kept my wedding pictures and I put them in the loft. In 1996 work took us to Germany and one night before that I went to bed and when I got up the next morning the room had been smashed to pieces. He had used an axe and the sofa and sitting room had been slashed.
“I was baffled. He said he was so angry and frightened I was going to go to Germany and leave him and he took it out on the furniture, and he inferred it was better to take it out on that than me.”
Jackson added that in the later years of their marriage it was not clear what would trigger her husband’s anger.
She said: “I couldn’t work out if it was baked beans or the broccoli was wrong. I couldn’t work out what was triggering it. In later years, any friends he didn’t like I would drop them. I stopped going places, I didn’t have girlfriends anymore.
“The things he loved about me in the beginning, like my confidence and ability to talk to anyone, it changed, he didn’t like it.”
Jackson added that it was “important” to her to make the marriage work after losing “somebody I loved very much through my own negligence”.
She said: “He used to say, ‘You never loved me,’ and I used to say, ‘If I don’t love you, why would I stay all these years? You know I love you’.
“I still love him, even after all of this.”
The trial continues.