Fifth day of Whitby murder trial

Spring Hill off Bagdale in Whitby cordoned off by police''w130801b
Spring Hill off Bagdale in Whitby cordoned off by police''w130801b

A woman accused of murdering her boyfriend by stabbing him in the heart told a jury today (Friday August 16) she did not remember doing it.

Rebecca Dormer said the first she remembered was Gareth Matthews sitting on the sofa bleeding and her trying to help him.

She told Leeds Crown Court she had been drinking and had mental health difficulties which affected her ability to remember things.

She vaguely remembered Mr Matthews and her brother Daniel returning from shops while she was tidying the flat where she lived with her partner in Spring Hill Court, Whitby.

Paul Greaney QC defending her asked if she remembered a time when she and Mr Matthews started to argue.

“No,” she replied.

He said according to her brother’s evidence Mr Matthews had thrown down a vase containing sand and a candle and after that she had started behaving abnormally as though she had lost control.

“We know from Daniel you slapped Gareth do you remember that,” he asked.

“No,” she said.

“We know in the kitchen you stabbed him once, but deeply, to his chest. You accept you did that don’t you, can you remember doing that?” asked Mr Greaney.

“No,” she replied. She said the first she remembered after the stabbing was “being sat on the sofa with the socks trying to help him.”

She told the jury: “Everything is all muddled up, I don’t know what happened first. Everything happened so fast.

“I couldn’t believe what I had done. I was in shock at what I had done.”

She said by then Mr Matthews did not have his T shirt on and she got the socks to press on the wound. “I was just in so much shock, I was panicking. I didn’t know what to do next, I felt ill.”

Dormer said when she phoned 999 she was hysterical repeatedly telling them it was an accident.

“I hadn’t meant to stab him, I hadn’t meant to hurt him. It just happened on the spur of the moment. I just felt ill after I had done it, I just couldn’t believe it.”

She said she told police officers when they arrived that she had not stabbed her boyfriend because she wanted to be with him and did not want to be taken away.

“I definitely haven’t meant to kill him and I definitely have’t meant to cause him serious harm. I wouldn’t stab someone someone intentionally where there was a chance they could die.”

Dormer (23) denies the murder of Mr Matthews, 32, in February. She has admitted manslaughter. The jury has been told psychiatrists agree she suffers from an emotionally unstable personality disorder and the issue is whether that substantially diminished her responsibility.

She told the jury she was expelled from secondary school because of her behaviour. She regularly used cannabis from the age of 13 to 15 and said that really affected her ability to think properly.

She went on a course to work with children but could not complete that because of her mental health. “ I struggled with everything from day to day.”

She managed one day working in a fish and chip shop but said she could not return because she felt so paranoid and the only other work she had ever had was selling Avon.

Dormer said she had had two serious relationships before Mr Matthews from Skelton, the first was with a heroin addict and the second treated her more as a babysitter for his daughter than a girlfriend.

Although she and Mr Matthews had regular arguments and there was physical violence on both sides she said he did help her cope with her mental illness. “I loved him loads, a lot. He understood me.”

But she said he was controlling and was paranoid about her with anybody else because of her history having “slept around a bit when I was younger.”

The trial continues on Monday.