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Pensioner who stabbed husband to death previously told police he was ‘a pain in the arse’

A pensioner who stabbed her husband to death had previously described him as a “pain in the arse” when police officers visited their home following an argument, jurors have heard.

Penelope Jackson, 66, knifed her 78-year-old husband David three times in the kitchen of their bungalow in Parsonage Road in Berrow, Somerset, on 13 February this year.

Jackson admits the manslaughter of her husband of 24 years, a retired military officer, but denies murder. She claims he was coercive and controlling and also physically violent towards her.

Bristol Crown Court was told on Monday she had previously called police in December 2020 after her husband picked up a poker and smashed a conservatory window before walking away.

It happened the day after he had his pacemaker’s battery replaced, and she had locked him in the conservatory to calm down after they argued about how to use the remote control.

In her 999 call about the poker incident, Jackson said: “I have just got bruises up my arms. He grabbed me and threatened me. I don’t want to say any more. It’s not like him. He’s just mad. I can’t explain.”

During that call, Jackson said her husband had told her while brandishing the poker: “If you do not go away I will use it on you”. However, she went on to tell the 999 operator that “he did not mean it”.

Jurors heard Jackson was upset when police arrived at her home and feared her husband would be “mortified and angry”. An officer told her the incident would be recorded as an assault and the couple should not sleep in the same house that night.

Clare Wade QC, defending, said Jackson was “wringing her hands and her voice was wavering at times” when she spoke to officers. At one point she pulled up the sleeve of her nightgown to show a small round bruise developing on her forearm, before covering it up again.

When police arrived, Mr Jackson was in another room in the house with his son-in-law and was told by an officer that he should spend the night with his daughter in Bristol. He responded by saying he did not mind being arrested.

With her daughter sitting beside her, Jackson told officers her husband was controlling, though not to the point he would prevent her from meeting people. “He is a pain in the arse,” she said, adding that “he would say I’m a control freak”.

On whether the incident involving the poker should be taken further, Jackson told officers: “Part of me wants to make him pay for it but that’s spite. It’s either we get through it or we get divorced – at the moment, I do not know how we get back from it.”

The jury heard that a police violence abuse questionnaire which was filled out by an officer who attended the call said that Jackson had not felt isolated, depressed or stalked. The argument had apparently come out of the blue and Jackson said she believed it may have been related to the pacemaker.

When the officer followed up some days later, Jackson said she and her husband had fixed the problem and he had turned down the voltage on his pacemaker battery, following a discussion with medics. He had no recollection of what had happened.

Additional reporting by PA Media