How a 30-year marriage in a peaceful Devon village ended in violence and tragedy

Christine and Ian Rawle had been married for 30 years before his sudden death in August 2022. Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

The village of Knowle in North Devon is an idyllic setting. Acres of rolling green farmland; homes nestled among sprawling forests; a picture of quiet country village life.

But on a Sunday afternoon in August 2022, the peace was shattered by a sudden act of violence.

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

'He will come and get me'

Christine and Ian Rawle were arguing in a stable just behind their isolated bungalow.

As the row reached its peak, Mrs Rawle picked up a large kitchen knife and plunged it 10cm into her husband's back. He followed her for a short time through the fields, before collapsing.The emergency services were called but they could not save Mr Rawle, and Mrs Rawle was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Sitting in the back of a police van in handcuffs, she told officers: "How can you love someone who is so nasty to you? He will come and get me and he will kill me."

Christine Rawle was interviewed by the police after her arrest. Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

'He didn't stab himself, did he?'The following day Mrs Rawle was in custody, being interviewed by police detectives.

She claimed she had no memory of inflicting the blow which killed her husband."I don't remember actually holding it, but the fact is I was the only person there, he didn't stab himself did he?" she said.Over the course of six hours of interviews, Mrs Rawle claimed she had been abused, tortured and sexually assaulted by her husband.

She said she had tried to leave him, asked for a divorce, but claimed that just made him angry.

Christine Rawle sat through the trial which lasted four weeks at Exeter Crown Court. Credit: Liz Cook/ITV News

'Viagra in his tea'Eventually, the case ended up in crown court, where a jury of seven men and five women heard weeks of extraordinary evidence.

The court was told Mr and Mrs Rawle would play pranks on each other. One witness said she would put Viagra in his tea, chilli powder in his underpants and "wipe her backside with his ties".

The couple were compared to characters from the Roald Dahl story 'The Twits'.

Friends, neighbours and family members spoke in court, both in support of Mrs Rawle and against her. Some witnesses gave evidence from behind a screen due to the sensitivity of what they had to say.

Ian Rawle was secretly recorded arguing with his wife. Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

Covert video recordingsMrs Rawle would secretly record arguments with her husband on her mobile phone. They would row about money, work, her health, their children and the state of their marriage.

These videos were played to the jury and released to the media following an application by ITV West Country.In one video, Mrs Rawle can be heard telling her husband: "You worked as a council f***ing foreman, that's hardly a f***ing brain surgeon is it? Who do you think you are? You don't even know how long you've been f***ing married."In another video, filmed on Mrs Rawle's iPad, Mr Rawle asks her: "Why have I got to go to work? To keep us afloat. What do I get out of it?"

Later, he accused his wife of being an alcoholic.

People living in Knowle say the couple would often argue. Credit: ITV News

Community in shockITV West Country has spoken to people in Knowle who knew Mr and Mrs Rawle.

They have spoken about their shock as police and ambulances descended on the rural community, and also their memories of the couple.

One husband and wife said the Rawles would often argue. They believe the couple were "not happy together" and that they were "not right for each other from the beginning."

Christine Rawle faced a trial at Exeter Crown Court.