A woman accused of murdering her husband following a family meal over Zoom told a court she “lost the plot” when he called her “pathetic” in the bedroom and later taunted her in the kitchen.
Penelope Jackson, 66, stabbed David Jackson, 78, three times with a kitchen knife just hours after they fought during a meal to celebrate her birthday.
Mr Jackson, a retired lieutenant colonel, was first stabbed across the chest in a bedroom of the home they shared in Berrow, Somerset, on the night of 13 February this year.
She then stabbed him twice more in the kitchen while he was on the phone calling for help.
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She denies murder but admits killing her husband.
In cross-examination, Christopher Quinlan QC, prosecuting, suggested to the defendant she had “deliberately lunged” at Mr Jackson’s chest with the knife in the bedroom and he was of no threat to her when she attacked him a second time.
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She replied: “I saw blood, I left immediately, I was horrified.
“I didn’t intend anything. I had lost the plot, I had reacted. I knew I stabbed him – it was the blood – I was horrified, I left. There was not an intent.”
Referring to the 999 call Mr Quinlan said: “He was not threatening to you when you stabbed him again?”
Jackson replied: “It was that face.”
Breaking down in tears, she added: “I didn’t know what I thought, I wasn’t thinking. He was always a threat when he had that face on. You can’t see him looking at you like that.
“I told the truth, I keep telling the truth.”
She told the jury at Bristol Crown Court her husband was coercive and controlling and also physically violent towards her – pushing, shoving, and strangling her.
She called the police in December last year when Mr Jackson smashed a glass door with a poker during a row over the TV remote.
She said she “covered up” for her husband for years.
She said: “It was not every minute of every day or every week – the violence was sporadic, the nastiness, being called ‘a thing’, even using the TV remote, I couldn’t do nothing.
“I was tentatively trying to take back control, not immediately but bit by bit – I had lost all control. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything.”
She said her husband could be “charming and loving”, particularly after a moment of violence, and said she had asked herself “a million times” why she had not left.
Son-in-law Tom Potterton told the jury he saw his wife’s parents bicker and argue but it was “relatively short-lived and forgotten about” and nothing he was concerned about.
Asked if he ever saw Mr Jackson hurt the defendant, Mr Potterton replied: “No, he once or twice raised his hand in frustration, and on no account did I envisage he would do anything, and he never did.”
Mr Potterton explained to the jury that he and his wife joined Mr Jackson and the defendant for the birthday meal via Zoom, so he witnessed the argument over the bubble and squeak.
“David said that if Penny didn’t stop going on about it, he would walk away and my wife started to diffuse the situation and change the conversation,” he said.
He told the court the meal ended at around 7.30pm before dessert because the Jacksons had another argument when their iPad ran out of battery.
“(David) said something along the lines of, ‘You can’t admit when you are wrong’. He was really calm, he just said it as anybody would,” Mr Potterton said.
“Penny was upset. She looked as though she had been crying.”
Police later found a confession note by the phone that read: “To whom it may concern, I have taken so much abuse over the years – look at my records.”
It continued: “But he was a good Daddy. However the mask slipped tonight. That was unforgiveable. I accept my punishment, may he rot in hell.”
The victim was her fourth husband and she was his third wife.
The trial continues.