Wife stabbed her husband of 53 years to ‘shut him up’

Bristol Crown Court.

Bristol Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A PENSIONER who stabbed her husband of 53 years in the stomach told police she did not want to murder him - she was simply ‘trying to shut him up.’

Barbara Smith, aged 72, pleaded guilty to wounding after an argument over a digital camera left her 83-year-old husband John Smith with a punctured abdomen.

Bristol Crown Court was told Mr Smith remains ‘extremely supportive’ of his wife, has not forced her to leave their home and said ‘he should have known better’.

The court was told how Mrs Smith, who had suffered years of domestic abuse threw her husband’s camera on the floor during a row, before stabbing him with a six-inch blade.

When police arrived at their home in Aldwick Lane, Aldwick, in Redhill, on August 11 she told an officer ‘he just wouldn’t be quiet’ and then asked ‘are you going to take me to prison now?’


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Prosecutor Mark Hollier told the court: “She reached behind her towards the drawer and pulled something out which turned out to be a kitchen knife. She lashed out and stabbed him in his stomach area.

“She telephoned her daughter-in-law and said she had stabbed her husband. Her daughter-in-law came over and saw her father-in-law trying to staunch the wound with a towel.”

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Mr Hollier said Mrs Smith had called an ambulance and her daughter-in-law also dialled 999.

He said: “Mrs Smith was in a distressed state and her response to the officer was ‘I wasn’t trying to murder him I was just trying to shut him up.’

“While in police custody Mrs Smith has consistently accepted what she has done.

“She did put forward the fact that she was cross with the husband but his statements say he was also behaving in a belligerent manner and he should have known better. Mr Smith is extremely supportive of his wife.”

After the incident Mr Smith was taken to Frenchay Hospital and stayed there for two weeks to recover.

Tristan Harwood, for the defence, said: “The circumstances that arose causing this are not unusual. She has suffered domestic abuse, perhaps not violence but anger and threats directed to her for a number of years.

“Mrs Smith told me she had a knife in her hands and was saying ‘John leave me alone’ but he kept going at her to put the knife in.

“John kept moving closer to her so that he was spitting in her face.”

Mr Harwood also told the court Mrs Smith would not do well in prison as she has a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr Justice Nigel Teare called the incident an ‘unusual, sad but serious offence’ and gave the pensioner an eight month sentence, suspended for 12 months, as well as a £100 victim surcharge.

He said: “Although there have been arguments in your marriage you have not been violent to your husband before and I accept you’re extremely remorseful.

“Your husband recognises his role in the matter and does not blame you. He does not wish you to go to prison.”

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