A jury have been told to focus on issues around a lack of intent and loss of control when reaching their verdict in the trial of a woman accused of murdering her husband.
Penelope Jackson knifed her husband of 24 years David in the kitchen of their home in Parsonage Road, in Berrow, Somerset, during the lockdown in February this year.
In an 18-minute 999 call, the 66-year-old told the operator her husband was “bleeding to death with any luck” and repeatedly refused to follow their instructions to try and help him.
It was David Jackson, 78, who initially made the call. At the beginning could be heard screaming in pain as the defendant apparently drives the knife into him for a third and final time.
Jackson denies murder but admits manslaughter, claiming she was the the victim of years of violence and controlling behaviour at the hands of her husband.
Over the course of a two-and-a-half week trial at Bristol Crown Court, various witnesses described her as “outgoing” and “gregarious” with a temper which was quick to flare up, but soon passed.
Explaining to the jury their route to a verdict, Judge Martin Picton said Jackson’s defence rests on the issues of a lack of intent to kill and loss of self-control.
He said they must consider whether a person in similar circumstances possessed of “a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint” would have acted in the same way.
“If you are sure that such a person would not have reacted in such a way, the defence of ‘loss of self-control’ would not apply and your verdict on the charge of murder would ‘guilty’,” Judge Picton said.
He continued: “If however, you decide that such a person would or may have reacted in a similar way to the defendant then the defence of ‘loss of self-control’ would apply and your verdict would be ‘not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter’.”
Judge Picton said: “It is contended that the reaction of the defendant, stabbing her husband as he was calling for help at a point when he was already bleeding from a serious albeit not fatal wound, is not how someone with a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint would react.
“The defence, however, argue that you cannot be sure that such is the case.”
He added that given the years of domestic abuse alleged by the defendant, Jackson’s defence team state: “The action of stabbing her husband is suggested to be within the range of how a person of normal tolerance and self-restraint could act (and) that you cannot be sure that such a person would not.”
Jackson's daughter, Isabelle Potterton, said she witnessed three instances of serious aggression by her step father - who raised her as his own from birth - against her mother.
She said they happened in the late-1990s soon after his son from his first marriage took his own life.
But she agreed for the past 20 years they had seemed to have a close and loving relationship, with lots of shared interests including travel and gardening.
Mrs Potterton said her parents would bicker over small things, but their anger rarely lasted long.
In her evidence, Jackson claimed she had lived in fear of the victim throughout the marriage.
“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,” she said.
She continued: “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.”
The jury are expected to retire to consider their verdict on Wednesday.