Penelope Jackson: Woman who stabbed husband to death after row over birthday meal found guilty of murder
Penelope Jackson, 66, stabbed David Jackson three times at their home in Parsonage Road in Berrow, Somerset on 13 February after they argued during a meal to celebrate her birthday. She had already admitted manslaughter, but denied murder.
A woman who stabbed her husband to death after a row that erupted during a birthday meal has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being found guilty of murder.
Penelope Jackson, 66, stabbed David Jackson three times at their home in Parsonage Road in Berrow, Somerset on 13 February after they argued during a meal to celebrate her birthday.
She had already admitted manslaughter, but denied murder.
Mr Jackson, a retired lieutenant colonel, was first stabbed across the chest in a bedroom.
The 78-year-old was then stabbed twice more by his wife in the kitchen while he was on the phone to police calling for help.
The jury at Bristol Crown Court listened to a 999 call, where Mr Jackson could be heard screaming as a knife was apparently driven into him.
Jackson then came onto the call and told the operator: “He’s in the kitchen bleeding to death, with any luck” – repeatedly acknowledging what she had done as she refused to give emergency aid.
When asked how many times she had stabbed him, she said once, before adding “then he said I wouldn’t do it again, so I did it twice more”.
Jackson also said she thought she’d stabbed her husband in the heart, but added: “Well, he hasn’t got one”.
Judge Martin Picton remarked that she hadn’t shown “a shed of remorse” following the attack or in court.
Sentencing her, he said: “You took the life of another human being. That is a terrible thing to do, and it represents a burden you and all the other family members will have to bear for the rest of their lives.
“Their memories of (David Jackson) will always be tarnished by the manner of his death and by the way you sought to portray him.”
The jury, made up of eight women and four men, found Penelope Jackson guilty on a majority verdict.
The court had heard the couple had quarrelled because Mr Jackson got angry when she prepared a side dish of bubble and squeak vegetables to eat with an expensive meal of crab, lobster and steak purchased by their daughter to celebrate her birthday.
Throughout the trial, Jackson claimed her husband was violent towards her and coercively controlling, and told the court on the night of the killing he had called her “pathetic” when she told him she wanted to kill herself.
The court heard she had called the police in December last year when he smashed a glass door with a poker during a row over the TV remote control.
The defendant’s daughter Isabelle Potterton, who had been raised by her father from birth, told Bristol Crown Court she had witnessed him acting violently towards her mother on three occasions when she was a child, including one incident where he held a knife to her throat.
She also recalled ending a video link dinner for her mother’s birthday on 13 February – the day of the killing – because her parents were arguing over who had forgotten to charge their computer.
She called her mother at 8.08pm to check she was okay, where Mrs Potterton said the defendant told her she was “absolutely fine, don’t worry, I’ll call you in the morning”.
Just over an hour later, Jackson fatally stabbed her husband.
Jackson previously broke down in tears in court, telling the jury: “I don’t know what happened. I didn’t want to kill him. I did it, I am sorry. I didn’t want him to die. He loved me, and I loved him, and it’s awful about what happened.”
The jury had been told to focus on the issues of lack of intent and loss of control when reaching their verdict.
Judge Picton told them Jackson’s defence rests on the issues of a lack of intent to kill and loss of self-control.
He said they must consider whether a person in similar circumstances possessed of “a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint” would have acted in the same way.
“If you are sure that such a person would not have reacted in such a way, the defence of ‘loss of self-control’ would not apply and your verdict on the charge of murder would be ‘guilty’,” Judge Picton said.
“If however, you decide that such a person would or may have reacted in a similar way to the defendant then the defence of ‘loss of self-control’ would apply, and your verdict would be ‘not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter’.” Sky News