Whitby woman on trial for murder

Spring Hill off Bagdale in Whitby cordoned off by police''w130801a
Spring Hill off Bagdale in Whitby cordoned off by police''w130801a

A woman stabbed her boyfriend killing him after she became “increasingly violent and angry” towards him while they were arguing, a murder trial jury was told.

Both Rebecca Dormer and Gareth Matthews had been drinking heavily before she went into the kitchen of their home in Spring Hill Court, Whitby and picked up a 12 inch knife.

Gareth Matthews

Gareth Matthews

Simon Kealey prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court on Monday August 12 she then stabbed Mr Matthews in the chest with sufficient force for it to penetrate almost four and half inches (12cms) into his body.

“The knife went deep into her partner’s chest through the heart and into the liver causing extensive blood loss and resulting in his death,” he said.

Dormer (23) denies the murder of Mr Matthews (32) on February 22 but has admitted his manslaughter.

Mr Kealey told the jury “The crown allege that this deliberate blow deep into the chest area can only have been delivered by the defendant with at least an intention to cause really serious harm or to kill her partner.”

He said the defence had raised the defence of diminished responsibility on the grounds Dormer suffered from an abnormality of mental functioning which impaired her ability to either form rational judgment, exercise self control or understand the nature of her conduct.

She had been seen by two psychiatrists who agreed she suffers from an emotionally unstable personality disorder. He told the jury the principal issue would be whether that mental disorder was a significant factor in causing the killing.

Mr Kealey said the couple had been in a relationship for about four to five years, originally living in West Yorkshire then Skelton, Teesside and finally in Whitby in a ground floor flat.

On the afternoon of February 22 they had been shopping with Dormer buying a 700cl bottle of vodka and soft drinks before returning to their flat.

Dormer’s brother Daniel had arrived about 4.30pm and he and Mr Matthews had also gone out to some shops returning with some alco-pops and wine. They then sat listening to music and drinking.

About three hours later the couple began to argue. Mr Kealey said Mr Matthews was telling his partner to calm down and keep her voice down while she was walking in front of him shouting.

At some point he knocked a vase containing sand on to the floor and while Dormer hoovered that up her brother and Mr Matthews had a cigarette in the toilet. When they returned the arguing continued and she slapped him on the face.

Her brother feeling awkward had gone for another cigarette. When he returned Mr Kealey said he found Mr Matthews had his hands on top of one another pressed to his chest with Rebecca Dormer trying to cuddle him saying “I’m sorry I love you.”

Mr Matthews told him to phone 999 saying “It’s gone through” and he then saw blood coming from a wound on his chest.

While his sister phoned the ambulance telling the operator it was an accident, he ran home to fetch his mother.

Police officers who arrived on the scene heard the defendant sobbing and the rasping noises coming from Mr Matthews who was lying on the sofa covered in blood with Rebecca Dormer pressing a sock on his chest.

She sounded drunk and was saying: “It wasn’t me I tried to help him.”

They tried to resuscitate Mr Matthews and paramedics who followed took over continuing their efforts for about 25 minutes but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The kitchen knife which was found behind the knife block in the kitchen had passed downwards completely transecting the cartilage of a rib before cutting through the apex of the heart, entering the abdomen and ending up in the liver. He had died from massive blood loss.

Bloodstains suggested he had been stabbed in the kitchen.

Daniel Dormer told the jury in evidence when he returned to the room he saw his sister trying to stop the bleeding and did not know what had happened.

“I could see blood on his chest. He started like losing colour, there was foam and that coming out of his mouth.”

Under cross-examination by Paul Greaney QC defending Rebecca Dormer, he agreed that there had been concerns in their family “for a number of years about Becky’s mental health.”

Mr Greaney suggested that the couple did love each other but often argued and that Mr Matthews had deliberately thrown the vase causing the sand to go everywhere so that “Becky was absolutely fuming”.

“Ye, they were shouting a lot more and she slapped him,” he said.

The trial continues.