South Shields killer wife faces prison escape charge

Drake Hall Prison. Picture courtesy of Express & Star
Drake Hall Prison. Picture courtesy of Express & Star

A South Shields wife who stabbed her husband to death after he pleaded with a court not to jail her was arrested at a hospital yesterday, armed with a knife.

Lifer Jacqueline Chesson, 56, allegedly absconded from Drake Hall Prison, Stafford, last week while out on day release.

The murderer was behind bars for fatally stabbing husband John Williamson, 59, in the chest at their home in Shields, in 2004.

Staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), West Yorks, called the police on Monday when she arrived at the hospital for treatment and was found to be carrying a 4in kitchen knife.

Petite and bespectacled Chesson appeared before Bradford Magistrates’ Court this morning.

She is charged with escaping from lawful custody on May 18 and possessing a blade at BRI on May 23.

Prosecutor Vincent O’Malley told the court Chesson was serving life for a domestic murder in 2004, and also had previous convictions for using a knife in 1995 and 2001.

Solicitor Michelle Flaga made no application for bail and Chesson will appear at Bradford Crown Court on June 21.

John Williamson suffered a punctured lung in an attack at the home the couple shared in South Frederick Street in August 2001.

When his wife appeared in court four months later, he said: "I'm feeling suicidal without her, I love her that much."

Despite suffering a potentially fatal collapsed lung, Mr Williamson said he did not wish to press charges against his wife of two years, and had to be persuaded to go to hospital.

A month after the stabbing she phoned South Shields police station and told officers she was going to "make a decent job of it" and planned to kill her husband.

She admitted unlawful wounding and making threats to kill, but Judge Maurice Carr agreed not to jail her after her husband's plea.

He told her: "With a degree of hesitation the scales have been tipped in your favour by what your husband has told me.

"If there is any offending of this nature again I'm afraid for the safety of the man in your life. In future you will have to go to prison for a long time."

Her barrister Andrew Walker told the court: "She has only one person in her life and that is her husband."

She was given a two-year community order but in December 2003 again plunged a knife into her husband's chest, this time killing him.

Chesson was originally due to stand trial for murder at Newcastle Crown Court, but changed her plea to guilty, saying she hadn't intended to kill him, but had momentarily meant to cause him serious harm.

It was revealed that as well as the previous conviction for stabbing her husband, she had been given 12 months' probation in 1996 for unlawfully wounding her then-husband Robert Storey.

He had been stabbed in the chest, abdomen and back, and suffered a punctured lung.