Update: Kewstoke murder trial latest

A MAN who killed his wife before trying to set fire to their home and jumping from a top floor window said he was suffering from clinical depression, a court heard today (Tues).

Stephen Hotson has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Julie Tottle during a five-day period in July, claiming that he is guilty of manslaughter and not murder due to his state of mind.

Adam Vaitlingham QC, prosecuting at Bristol Crown Court, said that 45-year-old Hotson and his wife Julie had had a heated argument at their home in Crookes Lane, Kewstoke, in which she told him ‘it was over’.

It is claimed Hotson then ‘flew into a fit of rage’ and picked up a vacuum cleaner pipe and hit her on the head repeatedly with it.

She was found when her brother Mark Tottle broke into the cottage and he alleges he found Hotson trying to light an oil drum.

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Mr Tottle had been approached at his work, Kewstoke Stores, which was next door to the house by a colleague of Julie’s from the veterinary practice where she worked.

She told Mr Tottle Julie had not been seen in work for several days.

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The gas was turned on in the property and the court heard today that Hotson went upstairs while Mr Tottle went to turn off the gas in the kitchen to find that the mains had been disconnected from the meter and gas was pouring out.

Mr Tottle called the police and it is said he found Hotson upstairs trying to light more matches.

The court hears how Hotson then jumped from an upstairs window on July 5 after police arrived at the scene.

He was subsequently taken to hospital with injuries.

The trial continues, and is expected to last four days.

* Keep checking the Mercury website for further updates.

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