Sian Rees death: Jury considers John Doyle verdict

Crash scene and Sian Rees
Image caption Sian Rees' body was found in John Doyle's van after it crashed

The jury in the trial of a Devon man accused of murdering his partner, whose body was found in his van, has retired to consider its verdict.

John Doyle, 54, of Merton Mill, Merton, denies murdering Sian Rees, 50.

Her body was found in his van on 1 July 2011 after it crashed on the A386 near Hatherleigh following a punctured tyre.

Exeter Crown Court heard that the couple rowed after Mr Doyle got drunk. Mr Doyle said he caused her death, but did not intend to kill her.

The court heard that Mr Doyle and Ms Rees argued at their property after he had turned up late and drunk to collect her from hospital after she had breast cancer surgery.

Died before crash

Mr Doyle told the court that, on 30 June, Ms Rees had brandished a knife which she was using to cut up leather.

He said that she was "hysterical and screaming" and that he had grabbed her by the throat to restrain her while also trying to grab the knife.

He said he did not mean for it to go into her.

Mr Doyle's Ford Fiesta van was found with Ms Rees's body inside it, after it crashed at about 10:00 BST on the A386 on 1 July, the court heard.

Tests on the body of Ms Rees, a solicitor originally from Aberdare in south Wales, showed she had died about 12 hours before the crash.

The case continues.

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