South Tyneside woman on trial accused of murdering partner who was stabbed in the heart with a kitchen knife
A woman has gone on trial accused of murdering her partner by stabbing him in the heart with a kitchen knife.
Nicola Lee allegedly stabbed Paul Taylor, 45, to death following a drunken argument at her home in Thames Avenue in Jarrow, on March 31.
Lee, 44, denies his murder and is being tried by jurors at Newcastle Crown Court.
Caroline Goodwin QC, prosecuting, told the court: "The Crown say that the person who is responsible for his death was Nicola Barbara Lee who sits in the dock.
"She stabbed him to death.
"She armed herself with a knife and fatally stabbed him during an argument.
"She was drunk, aggressive and argumentative on this particular night and her unlawful action led to the termination of his life by a single stab wound."
Ms Goodwin told the court how Lee claimed that Mr Taylor stabbed himself, something the prosecution "simply do not accept."
She told jurors how the couple had been in a relationship for a number of years and had previously lived together at the address on Thames Avenue in Jarrow.
Ms Goodwin said that Mr Taylor had recently got his own accommodation in Ashington, Northumberland, but he was still a regular visitor to her home.
She said: "Both the defendant and Mr Taylor were alcoholics and their relationship was fraught with violence, domestic violence.
"Neither of them were angels but the Crown say the person who was particularly violent was the defendant."
She told the court how Lee has previously hit Mr Taylor with a hammer and attacked him with a knife causing injury.
She said it came to the attention of police at the time but Mr Taylor said he had done it to himself.
Ms Goodwin told the court how in private Mr Taylor revealed to his friend that the person who had attacked him was Nicola.
She said: "The Crown say that the defendant was the aggressor and perpetrator of further domestic violence."
Ms Goodwin told the court how Mr Taylor's friend Shaun Hunter described an "atmosphere" between the couple while drinking at her home on March 30.
She said when Mr Hunter left the address, he received a phone call from Mr Taylor and he walked back to meet him.
Ms Goodwin told the court how Mr Taylor had said to Mr Hunter that his head was "battered" as Lee was going "on and on and on."
The court heard how Mr Hunter told him to come back with him and but Mr Taylor said no as he was going to go back and "sort it out" with Lee.
Ms Goodwin said a shop worker described seeing Mr Taylor "crying" while buying two bottles of Southern Comfort just after 9pm night that.
She said, not long later, Lee walked into the same shop to buy a case of Magners cider.
The shop worker, who described her as being in a "foul mood" heard Lee shouting "they better get out my flat or I'll kill them."
Ms Goodwin said: "She was drunk and she was angry."
The prosecutor told the court how Lee's neighbour Margaret Mason heard the couple arguing just after 10pm and Lee shouting: "I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill you."
She said the neighbour then heard a "scuffle" take place and she heard shouts of: "Paul Paul."
Ms Goodwin told the court how Lee called the emergency services and said that Mr Taylor had "stabbed himself in the chest."
In the call to the emergency services, which was played to the jury, Lee can be heard saying: "My partner is in the kitchen, he's on the floor, we have ended up having an argument and he's stabbed himself, it's not the first time he's done it, the last time he smashed himself on the head with a hammer."
She goes on to tell the operator: "I'm sick of it man, he does it on purpose and blames it on me.
The court heard how the police arrived to find Lee cradling Mr Taylor, who was slumped in the corner.
Despite attempts by police and then paramedics to save his life, Mr Taylor was pronounced dead at 2.24am and Lee was arrested on suspicion of murder.
A post mortem showed a single stab wound had passed through a ventricle in Mr Taylor's heart.
Ms Goodwin told jurors how Lee kept asking officers, while in the police car, if Mr Taylor was dead.
The court heard how she told officers: "He's the love of my life. Are you for real? I never hurt him, he did it himself. He smashed himself on the head with a hammer. I knew I'd get the blame sooner or later."
The jury was told how, when she was charged by police on April 2, she said: "I did not stab and kill my boyfriend."
Ms Goodwin told the court how Lee has a "propensity to be violent" with previous convictions for criminal damage and affray.
The court heard how Lee claims that Mr Taylor had threatened to commit suicide and was "depressed" due to the suicide of his son and he couldn't see his other children.
She said that in the kitchen that night he took hold of a knife and, before she could do anything about it, he stabbed himself in the chest.
Ms Goodwin QC told the court: "Well, the crown do not accept that members of the jury."
The trial continues.