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'I was in utter despair': Wife accused of husband's murder says row erupted over birthday bubble and squeak

A woman stabbed her husband to death following a row over serving bubble and squeak with a steak for her birthday, a court heard.

Penelope Jackson, 66, stabbed David Jackson, 78, three times with a kitchen knife hours after they quarrelled during a family meal to celebrate her birthday in February.

Ms Jackson told the court her husband got angry because she had prepared a side dish of bubble and squeak vegetables to eat alongside the expensive meal purchased by their daughter to celebrate her birthday.

She said: "I said to David, 'shall I get the bubble and squeak out now? His reaction was 'what potatoes - what are you on about?'.

"I was totally thrown and he was muttering 'you are just trying to show me up that I didn't think their meal was good enough' - I was just horrified."

Addressing the jury, she said: "I know it is a stupid thing to have got to this and be in the dock for killing someone over bubble and squeak but that is what happened."

"I was just horrified - it was the eyes again - they turned on a sixpence," Ms Jackson told Bristol Crown Court.

"I was absolutely horrified that he was being so nasty. The conversation which had been loud and chatty, just died.

"I said don't do this again and started to cry and I went to the side and I was crying quietly.

"I was just inside, in bits - my whole birthday being ruined - all over bubble and squeak."

She added: "This was the final straw because in December I had mentally said I wasn't going to put up with it.

"He had the contempt for me and he had been so rude and obnoxious in front of our daughter. It wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back but in was in the bundle.

"I cried and cried and cried, I was so upset about the whole of the last year of my marriage. As far as I was concerned my marriage had just imploded.

"It wasn't earth shattering but belittling me over bubble and squeak."

After the argument, Ms Jackson said she had taken a kitchen knife to her bedroom intending to use it to take her own life but instead walked into her husband's bedroom to speak to him.

"I wanted him to say, 'I am sorry, Pen'. He didn't, he just said, 'For God's sake you are pathetic, get on with it and go back to bed'," she said.

"It was just like, 'Pass the sugar'. I was in utter despair. I looked at him and said, 'I have done nothing wrong, admit you are sorry'. He said, 'For God's sake shut up'. He literally couldn't be bothered - it was utter contempt."

Ms Jackson admits manslaughter of the retired lieutenant colonel but denies murder, claiming he was coercive and controlling and also physically violent towards her.

Wife shows jury how she stabbed husband

Gesticulating to the jury with her hand to show how she stabbed her husband on the evening of February 13 this year, Jackson said: "I just lost it. I was in utter despair, I just lost control.

"He said, 'come on then'. It was like I just lost it and I didn't know why I did it. I have not been violent in my life, I never even smacked children."

Fighting back tears, she said: "He just looked at me as if he was so shocked. I was absolutely horrified."

The court heard that Jackson then left the bedroom took the knife to the kitchen where she wrote a note confessing to stabbing her husband.

Mr Jackson went into the lounge of their bungalow in Berrow, Somerset, to get the phone to ring the police and then walked into the kitchen, telling his wife: "See how it feels to have the police phoned on you."

She told the jury: "He was dialling as he walked. He said, 'couldn't even do that right, you're pathetic."

Jackson said her husband put his face right into hers as he spoke to the 999 call handler.

"It was almost a look of delight. He was goading and horrible and said I was pathetic and couldn't do it right," she said.

"I was there, and I just thought I wasn't angry, I couldn't cope anymore."

Again, showing the jury how she stabbed her husband, Jackson said: "I stabbed him again and he said, 'she's done it again'.

"He fell down and I picked up the phone. I've read the transcript. I don't remember saying any of it.

"I know in my mind, in hindsight, I had totally lost the plot."

Husband didn't like wife listening to The Archers

Clare Wade QC, defending, asked the defendant: "When you stabbed him, did you intend to kill him?"

Jackson replied: "I didn't intend to kill him. I just lost all control - I just wasn't even there. My mind... I wasn't angry I had just had enough and lost the plot. I just lost control - I couldn't take anymore."

She said throughout their 24 years of marriage Mr Jackson was very controlling, telling her what she could and could not watch on the television - programmes such as Doctor Who, Ackley Bridge and Made In Chelsea.

She also said he would not like her doing jigsaw puzzles or listening to The Archers daily on Radio 4.

Jackson said that when the country went into lockdown in March last year her social life stopped and she was always at home with her husband.

"I was there all the time, there was no escape," she told the court.

"I didn't know when he woke up if I was going to be with nice David or ratty David who would put the dinner down the waste disposal."

She told the jury she was subjected to "pushing, shouting and shaking" throughout their marriage, her husband would be sexually violent and throw things and be nasty and belittling to her.

"It makes me feel ashamed that I have done what I have done," she said.

"But it also makes me ashamed that I didn't have the wherewithal to say this is happening and I am going to leave.

"It wasn't until I went to prison and said this isn't normal.

"It's just shameful to admit that you let your husband force you to have sex and you have not said no."

On Tuesday, the court heard how Ms Jackson was captured on police body-worn camera saying she "should have stabbed him more" as she was arrested.

Ms Jackson admits manslaughter but denies murder in an incident which happened just three months after police were called to the house about an argument over a remote control.

She was arrested after making a 999 call to police in which she told a call handler she had stabbed Mr Jackson three times.

In the call played to the jury, Ms Jackson was asked not to stab Mr Jackson again, to which she replied, "Why?"

The trial continues.