A killer husband who stabbed his wife in the heart after he found out about an affair with a fellow musician has been convicted of her murder.
Mark Arthur, 50, was found guilty of knifing his wife Heather in the study of their home in Gosforth, Newcastle, following a row between the couple.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that she had realised their 30-year relationship had come to an end by the time she fell for musician Paul Gowland, and she was in the throes of leaving him when Arthur stabbed her.
Judge Paul Sloan QC will pass sentence today but told Arthur that the only option he had was one of life imprisonment.
Speaking after yesterday’s verdict, Heather’s father Alan Naylor, from the Isle of Wight, said the family was relieved it was all over.
“We are really relieved it’s all over. It’s been a very trying time,” he said. “We shall miss Heather, she was a lovely girl. She was caring and considerate to others before herself and that showed.
“That showed in this trial and the jury saw that.”
Detective Chief Inspector Ged Noble, Northumbria Police, said: “Heather Arthur was killed by her husband in a violent attack at the family home.
“Mark Arthur initially told police it had been a tragic accident, however, in court he admitted unlawfully killing his wife by stabbing her, saying he had lost control.
“It’s impossible to put into words how tragic this has been for Heather, her family and her friends and it has been made all the more traumatic by having to endure a full trial at court.
“Despite Mark Arthur’s eventual admission to the unlawful killing of his wife, the police and CPS felt there was a case to answer for murder. I welcome the verdict reached by the jury that he was guilty of murder and as a result he will spend a number of years in prison.”
Mr Gowland, who played in a number of jazz bands, had met Mrs Arthur only the previous month after she saw his group Strictly Smokin’ playing in a local pub. He told the court they were initially friends, before they fell in love and decided to spend the rest of their lives together.
They had kissed but not had sex by the time she had finally decided to leave her husband, who she had met at Kingston University.
On the morning of the murder he said he was anxious as he was due to get test results from the doctor after he became concerned he had cancer.
As he discussed with her about attending the appointment, she began to say “preposterous” things about him, he claimed. He said she accused him of being manipulative and controlling and that he never showed her any affection.
Arthur told the court he asked his wife to stop being hurtful but she then turned to him and said she was having an affair.
He said at that point his blood pressure rose and he could hear his own heart racing and, still in his dressing gown, he went on to stab his 50-year-old wife.
He then attempted to perform CPR before running to his GP surgery in his boxer shorts to get medical help.
Mr Gowland remembered she had told him before they got close that she was “walking on eggshells” when she dealt with Arthur. He also said she had told him that Arthur had something installed on her phone which could be tracked.