Lancashire

Sharon Edwards: Violent wife murdered lawyer husband

Sharon Edwards and the kitchen knife Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Sharon Edwards stabbed her husband with a kitchen knife two months after they got married

A woman who regularly beat her newly-wed husband has been convicted of his murder by stabbing him through the heart.

Sharon Edwards, 42, denied killing solicitor David Edwards at their home in Chorley, Lancashire, in August 2015.

The 51-year-old was found dead in bed with a chest wound, two months after the pair married in Las Vegas.

At Manchester Crown Court she was jailed for life and will serve at least 20 years.

Mr Justice William Davis told Mrs Edwards she had a "bullying and violent nature" which had "robbed people of a decent man".

He added: "This deadly attack was the culmination of long-term bullying by you on this respected member of the community."

The court heard she was "domineering" and had given her husband a black eye before their wedding day. Mrs Edwards claimed he had hit himself in the face with a bedside phone in their Vegas hotel.

Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Mr Edwards had a black eye at the couple's wedding

Jurors heard she "quite liked the idea of being a solicitor's wife" and was furious when Mr Edwards was told he was losing his job.

In a recording Mr Edwards had said: "Honey, you said to me I'd like to think that I could punch you and knock you out with a single punch, yeah?

"I've told you, you do punch rather hard don't you?"

He was also heard to say: "We are going to have to refine the excuse for my eye, you know the garage door that we made up, that doesn't wash."

During the trial, Anne Whyte QC, for the prosecution, described how Mr Edwards had been "under the thumb" and was "plainly besotted" after meeting his wife-to-be in June 2014.

'Ex-partner's warning'

Debra Livesley, a former long-term partner of Mr Edwards told the court: "He said 'My life is hell down there, I'm living in hell'. I said 'You need to get out of the relationship, kick her out or leave her'.

"He said 'Trust me, I can't'. I said 'If you don't she is going to end up killing you'."

Her barrister, David Fish QC, said the mother-of-four was "at a very low ebb" and had "lost everything".

Rob Jansen, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said the case had all the "dreadful hallmarks" of domestic abuse.

He added: "This case is another in the sad catalogue of violent repressive relationships that seem to rob the victim of their power or ability to stop the violence."


Is domestic violence against men increasing?

While figures show the majority of those subjected to domestic violence are women, campaigners say there has been a rise in incidents where men are the victims.

The number of women convicted for domestic violence rose by 30% in the year to April 2015, from 3,735 to 4,866.

It marks an upward trend - the number of convictions involving female perpetrators is now six times higher than it was ten years ago.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics obtained by domestic abuse charity Mankind, which offers support to male victims, found one in four women and one in six men suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime.

Chairman Mark Brooks said: "The increase is primarily because of better reporting and the police believing men more now than they did previously."

A decade ago, he said, men would "have had a problem convincing police" they were the victims of abuse.

The police and CPS are now "more willing and able" to prosecute women, Mr Brooks said.

However, "Men like Mr Edwards feel they can't get any help", he said, explaining victims' frequent reluctance to come forward.

Three times as many men fail to tell anyone they are a victim of domestic violence as women, Mr Brooks added, referring to his charity's own research.

"Because Mr Edwards was a solicitor it does show that it can happen to all men of all backgrounds from all professions," Mr Brooks warned.

"We have received calls to our helpline from GPs, police officers and the legal profession."


Image copyright Ross Parry
Image caption Sharon and David Edwards married in Las Vegas in June 2015

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