‘Flirty’ girlfriend accused of knife murder after drinks

A WOMAN accused of stabbing her partner to death exchanged ‘flirtatious’ texts and a kiss with another man in the hours before the alleged murder, a court has heard.

Sharon Hodges, aged 41, denies murdering 58-year-old Philip Gibbs at the caravan the couple shared in Kewstoke.

In the early hours of November 19 Mr Gibbs - suffering from a knife wound to the chest and injuries to his arm - staggered from their home at Sand Bay Caravan Park in Sand Road to neighbour Marie Irwin’s property.

Hodges told police Mr Gibbs had slashed her wrist while she was on the phone to Mark White and her partner fell on the knife she picked up in self-defence.

Richard Smith QC, prosecuting, says she has since admitted to stabbing Mr Gibbs rather than it being an accident, but maintains it was to protect herself.

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During her murder trial this week, Bristol Crown Court was told how Hodges spent the hours before the incident drinking with fellow villager Mr White.

Giving evidence this week, Mr White admitted the pair spent about five hours together on the evening of November 18, first at the New Inn, Kewstoke, and then at the Captain’s Cabin in Birnbeck Road, Weston.

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Evidence read aloud in court described phone records of several ‘flirtatious’ texts throughout the evening, one mentioning ‘hanky panky’ and other ending in multiple kisses.

Mr White admitted the pair’s behaviour had been ‘flirtatious’, that he was attracted to Hodges and he said she was a ‘good-looking girl’.

Christopher Quinlan, defending, suggested there had also been a kiss in the New Inn the weekend before Mr Gibbs’ death, but Mr White said there had been another kiss, but when the pair walked home together a couple of weeks before.

Mr White said he ‘forgot’ about the texts they exchanged in the hours before the violent incident.

He said: “I had a lot to drink and did not remember the call or texts. I totally forgot.”

Mr White said he only knew about the call and texts when police told him about them and how he had deleted traces of some of the messages between them.

Mr White says he now remembers that after Hodges drove him home on the evening of November 18 he called her and could hear Mr Gibbs say ‘f*** off’ or something similar in the background before the phone went dead.

Mr Quinlan suggested to him that Mr Gibbs had been possessive and jealous, but Mr White said although he was not aware of that, Hodges had called her partner a ‘f***ing p****’ after they had a phone conversation in the pub that night.

The trial continues and is expected to last until the end of the month.

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