I killed my wife after she told me news about son and then turned myself in at police station

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“I just felt burning anger. I just wanted her to shut up ... that’s all I wanted to do.”

A man, who strangled his alcoholic wife to death, told a court on Wednesday how he snapped after she said he was not their son’s dad. A jury had heard that there was a long history of police call outs to the St Helens home of Stuart and Dawn Robertson following arguments, but mostly resulting in no action being taken and she was warned about making malicious complaints.

Tee-total 69-year-old Stuart Robertson admits the unlawful killing of his wife on November 15 last year, but denies murder. Liverpool Crown Court has heard that the death of the 62-year old mum of two came to light when the defendant walked into St Helen’s police station a few hours later and confessed.

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Robertson, a retired warehouse manager, who stood calmly leaning his arm on the witness box, said that the incident happened after his wife asked him to get her £500 from her bank account. She was angry that a £500 winter fuel payment had not yet landed in his account and said he had to put it in her account when it did.

He said that Dawn, who was his second wife, used to drink two to two and a half bottles of brandy every day, spending £52 on four bottles at a time, and would start drinking as soon as she got up in the mornings.

On the fatal day when he returned after getting the cash at 12.20 pm from Morrison’s he said that Dawn, whom he described as ‘really nice’ when she was sober, was still sitting in the living room in a chair with a glass in her hand. He said she told him he was ‘worthless, useless, a piece of s**t, you’re not worth a penny’.

Questioned by his barrister Stan Reiz, KC, he almost broke down when asked how he was feeling.  “I was fed up of it. She got up and came towards me, she had a finger pointing at me or had her hand up with open palm. She was less than twelve inches from me,” Robertson said. “My hands were at my side. She said, ‘You’re nothing but a f***ing slave to me, you live here because I let you. You will do exactly what I say, have you f***ing got me?’”

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He said he told her he was going to the home of their son, Michael, which he did when things escalated between the couple. His wife then said, ‘Why the f**k are you going round there again? He’s not even your f***ing son.’

Asked by Mr Reis if she had ever said that before he replied, “’no’. “Did you believe her?” asked Mr Reis. “At that moment in time, yes.” He said that lots of ‘jumbled up things’ were going through his mind including that she had lied to him for 36 years.

Emergency services were called to Cannon Street in Clock Face, St Helens, at around 3.50pm on November 15. Stuart Robertson has been charged with murder. Image: Google Street View / FacebookEmergency services were called to Cannon Street in Clock Face, St Helens, at around 3.50pm on November 15. Stuart Robertson has been charged with murder. Image: Google Street View / Facebook
Emergency services were called to Cannon Street in Clock Face, St Helens, at around 3.50pm on November 15. Stuart Robertson has been charged with murder. Image: Google Street View / Facebook

“I turned round and said ‘shut the f**k up, you f***ng bitch’  and as I did my hands went up around her neck. We stumbled backwards, I believe we ended up on the chair and I squoze and the next thing I knew she was dead.”

He said he believed he squeezed her neck for two minutes and then pushed himself up and said to himself, ‘You stupid b****d. What have you done?’ He broke down in tears as he said: “I was panicking. I didn’t know what to do.”

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Asked how she was he replied, ‘uncomfortable, awkward, dead’. “I believe I felt the carotid neck artery and I didn’t feel anything. She was sat with her legs over the left side of the arm chair and her head at an awkward angle.

“I looked at Dawn and I thought she needs to be more comfortable and I moved her. I attempted to lift her under her back and knees but she was a dead weight and I couldn’t so I gripped her leg and arm and dragged her to where she was found by the police. I put a pillow under her head and put a crucifix in her hand as we were both religious, her more so than me.”

Asked by Mr Reis why he had strangled her, shaven headed Robertson said: “I just felt burning anger when she told me Michael wasn’t my son. I just wanted her to shut up with the abuse, that’s all I wanted to do.

“I stayed till 2.45 and I noticed it was raining and put a coat and hat on and got a bus into town centre. I was debating whether to go to the railway station or police staton so I decided I would have a cup of tea and make my choice.”

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He went to a Costa and thought about getting a train to Liverpool and getting a ferry to Ireland but realised there was too much CCTV and his debit card would be traced whenever he used it. He cried as he told how he decided to go to the police station. “I felt disgusted. I broke every rule I believe in as a human being. I had no right to do it.”

The court has heard that he told police he had ‘snapped’ and strangled his wife after she had been abusive and shouted at him. The officer described him as ‘being emotional, very quietly spoken and shaky’ and he gave them the keys to his house saying they would need them to get in.

Under interview, Robertson gave a prepared statement in which he accepted killing his wife but said he had ‘simply lost control’.

Details of 77 police call outs to their home between 2004 and 2017 were read to the court by Peter Glenser KC, prosecuting, and in cross-examination he pointed out that on three occasions she claimed he had tried to strangle her. He suggested that Robertson was using his power over his weaker, smaller wife, which he denied.

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Earlier Robertson told the jury how his wife had tricked him into signing a letter without reading it in 2022 which put the joint tenancy of their rented home in Cannon Road, where they had lived since 1993, into her sole name.

“I was angry with myself that I allowed myself to be duped for signing something without reading it and angry at Dawn for the way she went about it. I worried at first in case wanted to get me out but then accepted it,” he explained.

He said that he was in hospital in the spring of last year with ulcers and cellulitis on his leg, which was at risk of amputation, and he intended moving into his own accommodation when discharged but ended up returning home.

“She was a non functioning alcoholic. I felt she needed help and it was my duty as her husband,” he said. Asked by Mr Glenser how the 42 separate injuries to his wife were caused he replied that he did not know but denied putting his hand over her mouth ‘to quicken her departure’. The case continues.