Devon murder trial couple called the police on each other repeatedly over 30 years, court told

Watch Sam Blackledge's report as covert video footage is shown to jurors in the Christine Rawle murder trial

A couple at the centre of a murder trial called the police on each other more than a dozen times over the past 30 years, complaining of physical violence, theft and criminal damage.

Christine Rawle, 70, is on trial for the alleged murder of Ian Rawle at their north Devon home.

The court heard she accused her husband of hitting her with a shovel; puncturing her car tyres; stealing her tax disc; throwing a statue through a glass door; urinating into a drawer and injuring her son with an ashtray.

Ian Rawle, while on the phone to the police, said his wife stabbed him in the chest and neck; placed a hosepipe through her sunroof and filled the car with water; broke into his house and stole personal items; and hit him with a riding crop.

Christine Rawle is accused of murder. Credit: Liz Cook/ITV News

Jurors at Exeter Crown Court, where Mrs Rawle is on trial for allegedly murdering Mr Rawle, heard an extensive list of the couple's police complaints against each other, dating back to 1992.

It was also revealed that Ian Rawle once had his shotgun certificate revoked by the police, who said they were concerned he was "easily moved to anger" and posed a "danger to public safety".

Christine Rawle's son, Tom Rawle, told the court he frequently witnessed his step-father being violent, and was once left with a 'severe burn' after having a hot ashtray thrown at him.

Tom, 38, said he remembers Ian Rawle - whom he referred to as 'dad' - stamping on his toys, punching and kicking his mother, insulting family members and having regular arguments.

On one occasion, when he was about ten years old, Tom said he was injured by Ian Rawle.

Ian Rawle died in August 2022. Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

"Dad and I were doing some homework, maths I believe," Tom said.

"He was becoming progressively frustrated as he was giving me tasks which were beyond what I was able to achieve.

"He got a metal ruler and hit me around the head with it. It was painful and unjustified."

Tom Rawle told the court Ian Rawle then picked up a hot ashtray and threw it at him.

"He had a set of heavy garden gloves," he said.

"I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. He threw the ashtray directly at me and it struck me in the leg. It left me with a severe circular burn on my leg. I was crying.

Thomas Rawle giving evidence with defence barrister Clare Wade KC (left) Credit: Liz Cook

"He played it down and said he didn't mean it in a malicious way, but he absolutely did. It wasn't an accident."

He said his mother tried to protect him and a fight broke out. Tom told the court Ian Rawle punched his mother "in the side of the face."

He described other incidents in which Ian Rawle hit his mother with a riding crop and "split her face open", and "kicked her with steel-capped boots on".

'If timings were off with meal times, that could cause arguments," Tom Rawle said.

"Dad coming home from work, depending on what kind of day he'd had, that could cause arguments. If mum hadn't done duties around the house, that could cause arguments.

"He thought I was underachieving and that I wasn't putting enough effort into life in the way he would have preferred."

Christine Rawle denies murder and the trial continues.