Husband admits killing in Gosforth but not murder

A man from Gosforth in Newcastle has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his wife but claims he can’t remember how

Heather Jane Arthur
Heather Jane Arthur (Naylor)

A man from Newcastle has admitted killing his wife but claims he can’t remember how.

Mark Arthur yesterday pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his wife, Heather, at their home in Gosforth earlier this year.

But he denied the more serious charge of murder and a court heard he will advance the legal defence of “loss of control” when he stands trial next month.

Mrs Arthur, 50, was found stabbed to death at the couple’s family home on Woodbine Road in April.

Arthur’s barrister said he has “no clear recollection” about how the fatal wound was inflicted.

Arthur was in the dock at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday for a plea and case management hearing.

Wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and blue tie, he spoke in a quiet voice only to enter his pleas.

When the charge of murder was put to him by the court clerk, he replied: “Not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.”

His barrister, Andrew Rutter, told Judge Paul Sloan QC that loss of control is the basis for Arthur’s defence.

Prosecutor Mark Giuliani said: “The matters of loss of control are set out in the defence statement.

“The Crown say this is a matter for a jury to decide and we should proceed to trial.

“In light of the defendant’s plea we will be able to significantly narrow the issues the jury will need to decide.”

As a result, the estimated length of Arthur’s murder trial next month was reduced from 10 days to five.

Mr Giuliani told the court there had been no details given in a defence statement filed by Arthur’s legal team about exactly how Mrs Arthur died.

Mr Rutter said Arthur cannot remember how the fatal stab wound was inflicted.

He said: “He has no clear recollection about how the wound was caused.”

Arthur, 49, was further remanded in custody until his trial takes place next month.

Judge Sloan told him: “I’m adjourning your case now for trial, which is listed before me on September 23.

“In the mean time you will be remanded in custody.”

 

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