A pensioner who went on to stab her husband to death had described him as a “pain in the arse” when she previously called police officers to her home, court has heard.
Penelope Jackson, 66, knifed her 78-year-old husband David three times in the kitchen of their bungalow in Parsonage Road in Berrow, Somerset, on February 13 this year.
A jury at Bristol Crown Court heard she had previously called police in December 2020 after her husband of 24 years picked up a poker and smashed a conservatory window before walking off.
It was the day after he had an operation to have his pacemaker battery replaced and she had locked him in the conservatory to calm down after they had a row about how to use the remote control.
In her 999 call to police about this incident, she said: “I have just got bruises up my arms. He grabbed me and threatened me. I don’t want to say anymore.
“It’s not like him. He’s just mad. I can’t explain.”
In the 999 call she also said: “It’s Christmas and it should not be happening”.
During the call, Jackson said her husband had at some point had the poker and told her “if you do not go away I will use it on you”.
Jackson went on to tell the operator “but he did not mean it”.
The jury heard that Jackson was upset when police arrived at her home and she said “he is going to be mortified and angry” about what had happened.
An officer told her the incident would be recorded as an assault and the couple should not be under the same roof that night.
On whether the matter should be taken further, with her daughter sitting beside her, Jackson said: “Part of me wants to make him pay for it but that’s spite.
“It’s either we get through it or we get divorced – at the moment, I do not know how we get back from it.”
She said his behaviour was not so controlling that he would stop her from seeing people, but added “but he is a pain in the arse”.
Jackson said “he would say I’m a control freak” and described the situation as “worrying but I have to deal with it now”.
She admits the manslaughter of the retired lieutenant colonel but denies murder, claiming her husband was coercive and controlling and also physically violent towards her.
Jackson described herself as a “pragmatist” and felt the situation was one where she would have to “get over it or he walks … nobody can make that decision but me”.
The row had come out of the blue and Jackson told officers it may have had something to do with his operation for the pacemaker battery replacement, the court heard.
The jury heard that a police violence abuse questionnaire which was filled out by an officer who attended the scene said that Jackson had not felt isolated, depressed or stalked.
When the officer telephoned her a few days later, Jackson said she and her husband had sorted out their problem and he had turned the voltage on his pacemaker battery down after a call had been put in to the hospital. He was back to his normal self and had no recollection of what had happened.
Clare Wade QC, defending, said Jackson was “wringing her hands and her voice was wavering at times” when she spoke to the police at her home.
At one point she pulled up the sleeve of her nightgown to show that a small round bruise was developing on her forearm, before covering it up again.
When police arrived, Mr Jackson was in another room in the house with his son-in-law and was told by an officer that he should spend the night with his daughter in Bristol.
He had insisted he did not mind being arrested.
Jackson explained to Pc Susan Sealey, who attended her home, that her husband had a condition which needs deep brain stimulation and is controlled by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin.
Pc Sealey said Jackson “was upset” during this time and that Mr Jackson’s speech seemed “quite slurred, mumbling, sometimes inaudible” when she spoke to him. He was was also a little unsteady on his feet, the officer said.
Police investigations later found that Jackson had made several online searches on matters like deep brain stimulation, domestic violence, my rights as a victim, refuge, support with legal options, I’m living with my abuser and for divorce lawyers.
Among a stream of WhatsApp messages she sent in one day in December 2018, she described him as having turned into the “devil incarnate”.
She also wrote: “I can not continue to take this nastiness, no matter how much I love you, it is just not fair.
“The future is in your hands. You stop this nastiness or we go out separate ways.”
Another message said: “You have again gone off on one and you frighten me, I can not grow old like this.”
Jackson also stated: “Drink affects people differently – I get happy, you get nasty, your decision.
“I have stayed for love yet you throw that back at me. You need to stop.”
Jackson was of previous good character and had not been arrested before this allegation.
The hearing was adjourned to Tuesday at 11am.
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