Man on the run cleared of stabbing ex-wife in Barking

  • Published

A man has been cleared of stabbing his ex-wife twice in three years while on the run from prison.

William Bewley, who is 48 and formerly of Cotehill, Cumbria, denied attacking Karen Wade outside her home in Barking, east London, in 2004 and 2007.

He was found not guilty by a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court, east London, of assault causing actual bodily harm and wounding with intent.

Bewley had absconded from Leyhill open prison in Bristol in 2001.

He had served 20 years of a life sentence for shooting Ruth "Bunty" Musgrave near Cotehill in 1979.

'Sharp punch'

Bewley and Miss Wade, a tattoo artist, had married in 1998 - following an earlier escape from prison by him - and divorced seven years later.

The court heard they met when Bewley asked her for a tattoo.

Miss Wade said her shoulder and back were injured in the two alleged attacks.

She said she felt a "sharp punch" while at a New Year's Eve party in December 2004 and saw Bewley standing behind her.

She said she needed stitches when she went to hospital.

Miss Wade told the jury that another attack happened in May 2007 as she took shopping from her car.

'Marriage of convenience'

The court heard Bewley admitted unlawfully absconding from prison but denied any involvement in the attacks.

He was returned to jail after being caught in Deal, Kent, in June of this year.

He said the relationship was "a marriage of convenience" and stressed he had sought a divorce.

He accused Miss Wade of inventing stories about two stabbings as she was being "vindictive" towards him.

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