Tyne & Wear

Helena Atay guilty of husband's manslaughter

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Media captionHelena Atay: Wife said husband had 'enemies'

A woman who stabbed her husband in the chest has been found guilty of his manslaughter.

Helena Atay, 42, also known as Karine, told Newcastle Crown Court she could not remember stabbing 45-year-old Atakan, and denied his murder.

The Turkish-born businessman was killed at the couple's home in Birtley, Gateshead, in October.

The prosecution alleged a "craving for alcohol" led to the fatal confrontation after he tried to police her drinking.

Mr Atay was stabbed after attempting to stop her leaving the house to buy another bottle of wine, the jury was told.

She was found guilty of manslaughter and not murder, on the grounds of lack of intent, and will be sentenced at a later date.

In a 17-minute recording of her 999 call, Atay was heard saying "I'm sorry" and telling paramedics "we had a fight".

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Atakan Atay had tried to limit his wife's drinking, the trial heard

In a statement released after the verdict, Mr Atay's family said: "He was made a victim because of his compassion and being a good person.

"He always wanted to do the right thing and that has cost him his life.

"We are all going to carry the pain of that knife in our hearts all through our lives. Every knife we see will remind us of the pain it gave to his beautiful heart.

"Atakan and his family have been obliterated by a cruel person in a split second. He fought all of his life to keep the family together but now England is a grave for all of us."

They added they would "never forgive" Mrs Atay for the "damage" done to the family.

Image caption Police arrived at the couple's home shortly after the 999 call

She had told the court she had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband, including being regularly slapped.

On another occasion she had a knife held to her stomach, the jury heard, while she would often also be locked in the house.

Mr Atay was stabbed just below a tattoo in memory of their daughter Sophie, who died from cancer aged three.

His wife told the court she began drinking when she suffered from postnatal depression after the birth of her first child.

Following the death of her second child and the birth of her third, she was drinking more than she ever had before - up to two bottles of wine every night - the jury heard.

Prosecutors said she had previously sought help for alcoholism having had two car crashes while over the limit. She had also threatened to bite the nose off a hospital security guard, and bitten a nightclub doorman.

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