Jail for murderer who stabbed wife

A LAWYER has been jailed for 20 years after being convicted of murdering his social worker wife from Harrogate when she threatened to leave him and take their three children back to live with her mother.

Richard Davies Jones, 33, plunged a knife into the throat of 31-year-old Laura as they fought when she accused him of trying to re-ignite his affair with solicitor Kendra James-Booth, 29, whom he had met at law school.

The former army captain called the emergency services on his mobile phone as his wife lay dying in a pool of blood in the snow outside their £500,000 detached house in Woodfield Lane Ashtead, Surrey.

He told them: “I’ve stabbed her.”

Despite efforts by paramedics to save her, she died at the scene as he was rushed to hospital by ambulance after looking at his wife and saying: “I’m sorry Laura.”

Sentencing him at Guildford Crown Court, Judge Christopher Critchlow said: “The death - at your hands - of your wife is a tragedy for her family.

“It is also a tragedy for you and your family that you have to be sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.”

He said he acknowledged that the defendant had a good educational record, had given distingushed service in the army in Afghanistan, rising to the rank of captain, and had a bright legal career ahead of him.

However, the six year marriage had been scarred by incidents of domestic violence, and self-harming by her. He said he accepted there had been a violent confrontation between the couple in which the defendant had suffered a knife wound to the neck.

But the judge told Mr Davies Jones that he ought to have been able to physically handle her without the use of a knife and, as a former soldier, must have appreciated what the effects of his wife being stabbed in the neck would be.

He added: “I can only conclude that you intended to kill her. What happened may or may not have been seen by your children.”

In a victim impact statement read to the court, her father Michael Dakin said: “Never again will I see her beautiful face. Hear her laughter. I can never hold her.

“Laura should not have died. I do not feel bitterness but I cannot forgive.”

Laura’s 10-year old daughter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “Every time I hear the song I’ll Stand By You I think of mum because that is the last song I sang for her.

“Now she’s gone and I’ll never see her again. I have nightmares about him with a knife and I keep thinking he will come to get me.”

Laura’s mum, Celia Dakin, said: “Every time I try to sleep I get pictures of her in my head. I cannot forget the last words she said: ‘I’m afraid he is going to kill me’.

“She was such a huge part of my life. He has taken my child.”

And sister Rachel added: “For me, life died with Laura.”

Earlier in the case, Davies Jones, 33, sobbed as he explained to a jury that he never meant to kill her. He said the final conflict came just before Christmas last year - following days of bitter arguments and recriminations in their trouble-torn marriage.

He claimed he was acting in self-defence after Laura had flown at him with a knife, stabbing him in the neck.

In court, he accepted that one of the knife wounds suffered by Mrs Davies Jones was down to him, as he struggled to defend himself from attack, but denied causing any of the other injuries.

He said his memory of the last moments of the fatal struggle were hazy although vague memories had begun to return subsequently.

“I cannot remember any clear sequence of events,” he said.

Mr Davies Jones said he had discussed with psychologists later whether the pictures in his mind were real.

“‘I don’t know’ is all I can say,” he said.

He said the final showdown came after Mrs Davies Jones said she wanted to return to Harrogate to be near her mum and sister. He said she accused him of trying to get rid of her to enable him to be with Mrs James-Booth, an advisor to the 2012 Olympics.

Speaking after the case concluded on Wednesday, senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Juliet Parker said: “All the facts of this very sad case were put before the jury and they decided that Mr Davies Jones was guilty of murder.

“Our sympathies are with the family, for whom this has been an extremely difficult time.”