Hypnotist's husband had 'no chance to defend himself' from alleged stabbing attack, court told

Mr and Mrs Rawle had been married for 30 years. Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

A hypnotist accused of murdering her husband "cannot claim self-defence" as she stabbed him "squarely in the back", a court has heard.

The prosecution team in the trial of Christine Rawle have summed up their case for jurors, saying Ian Rawle had "no chance to defend himself."

Mr Rawle died at the home the couple shared in Knowle, north Devon, in August 2022.

Mr and Mrs Rawle lived at Kittywell Wood near Braunton. Credit: ITV News

Lead prosecutor Sean Brunton KC said: "The knife was driven straight into his back and he had no chance to defend himself whatsoever.

"She may have said she felt threatened - but she accepts that he was walking away, maybe he was pushing a wheelbarrow, so again, defenceless.

"She can't remember what happened next, just that he came towards her asking her to 'take the knife out of my back.'

"The issue of self defence does not genuinely arrive. It is a non-issue. It is for the defendant to raise it, and we say she has not really done that. The highest she put it is she felt threatened - but threatened by what? By nothing.

"It is almost impossible to imagine a case of self-defence from someone being stabbed squarely in the back.

"The phrase 'to stab someone in the back', what does it mean? it means to attack someone when they are totally unaware of what you are doing, to finish someone off in a disloyal way."

Mr Brunton told the jury Mrs Rawle could have left her husband "whenever she wanted to".

He told the jury: "This is as simple a case of murder as you can get. So please, don't take your eye off the ball, or off the knife.

"That is what this case is really about. Those few moments. In those few moments lie the key to this very sad and overly complicated case."

Clare Wade KC gave her closing speech on behalf of the defence. Credit: Elizabeth Cook

In her closing speech, defence counsel Clare Wade KC said Mrs Rawle went to see her GP on several occasions complaining that her husband was impossible to live with.

"There are good men and bad men, there are people who are violent and controlling, and there are people who can be violent when they resist control," Ms Wade said.

"The issue is what happens when there is a power imbalance. When one person has to be dominant, to be superior, when that person feels they have to win.

"Christine Rawle longed for a traditional marriage, security and love. But sadly it wasn't to be.

"Even though Ian Rawle had his dinner on the table when he got home - and there's nothing wrong with that - there is something wrong with throwing it at the wall.

"Despite all the cries for help, the turmoil, nobody did anything to help."

Ms Wade urged the jury to not be swayed by stereotypes.

"This is a story of what can happen when someone who is trapped starts to try to make changes," she said.

"We know this is what Christine Rawle tried to do. She had taken a somewhat different approach to all her medical problems. She was undergoing counselling and nutritional therapy. Then she moved up top, to the barn.

"She couldn't just up and leave. If only life were that simple. Where exactly was she supposed to go, with horses and dogs and sheep?

"Christine Rawle loved her husband. He is dead. She will live with the consequences for the rest of her life. The prosecution want you to believe it is as simple as her losing her temper on that day. it is anything but."

Christine Rawle denies murder and the trial continues.