Devon

Barnstaple murders trial: 'Bloodbath' says defence

Deborah Langmead and Donna St John
Image caption Deborah Langmead was found in the fire-damaged house beside Donna St John

A house where two women from North Devon were allegedly stabbed to death has been described by the defence in court as a "bloodbath".

Builder Neil Langmead, 41, denies murdering Debbie Langmead and Donna St John, both 35, in Fortmead Close, Barnstaple, in August 2010.

The women were found stabbed to death in the fire-damaged house, Exeter Crown Court has heard.

Mr Langmead, of Barnstaple, said the attack happened after a row.

Prosecuting, Michael Fitton QC described Mr Langmead as a controlling man and "an emotional bully" who by his own admission was "obsessed" with Mrs Langmead.

He said the three had ended up at the house in Fortmead Close, where Mrs Langmead lived, after a night out in Barnstaple.

Defence barrister Martin Meeke QC described the scene as a "bloodbath" and said that Mr Langmead acted in self defence and stabbed his wife after she stabbed him.

Mr Meeke said that Mr and Mrs Langmead had had sex at the property at Fortmead Close before a fight broke out in which Mrs Langmead stabbed Miss St John.

He said Mrs Langmead then turned on the defendant who was stabbed six or seven times. It was argued that he grabbed the knife and retaliated.

Neil Langmead denies two counts of murder and one of arson.

The trial continues.

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