A woman accused of murdering her husband following a birthday row over bubble and squeak with a steak dinner told a jury she armed herself with a knife as she feared her husband was going to hurt her.
Penelope Jackson, 66, confronted her husband David, 78, in the spare bedroom of their home, telling him she was going to kill herself with the kitchen knife.
She claimed that when her husband, a retired lieutenant colonel, called her “pathetic” and told her to go back to bed, she slashed him with the knife, causing a wound to his chest.
Mr Jackson called the emergency services to summon help and, during a recording of that call, Jackson could be heard stabbing her husband twice more.
When police and ambulance crews arrived at their bungalow in Berrow, Somerset on the evening of February 13 this year, Mr Jackson was discovered in the kitchen with fatal knife wounds.
Bristol Crown Court has heard the couple had quarrelled because Mr Jackson had got angry when she prepared a side dish of bubble and squeak vegetables to eat alongside an expensive meal of crab, lobster and steak purchased by their daughter, Isabelle, to celebrate her birthday.
“I was so upset and so hurt.
“I was just so hurt that he had ruined my birthday again and this time had let the mask slip and let Isabelle see how nasty he could be over something,” she said.
“He wanted the bubble and squeak and to say that he never asked for it was just such…
“The mask had slipped.
“I felt he had promised it wouldn’t happen again and we had a period of niceness.
“I never wanted my marriage to end.
“I loved my husband and I wanted it to work, and it was going so well.”
Jackson explained she took the knife with her to bed and placed it under a pillow because she thought her husband might hurt her.
“I lay there and couldn’t see a way out other than me killing myself because I could have gone in December, or as Isabelle says why didn’t I go when she was 21 or 18,” she said.
Explaining why she confronted her husband, she said: “I wanted him to understand what he had driven me to… I just wanted him to understand how bad he made me feel.
“I didn’t think I wanted to kill my husband, I wanted to kill myself and he said, ‘Go on then, hurry up or go back to bed, you’re pathetic’.”
Breaking down in tears, she said: “I don’t know what happened.
“I didn’t want to kill him.
“I did it, I am sorry.
“I didn’t want him to die.
“He loved me, and I loved him and its awful about what happened.
“I was in hell for a lot of my marriage.”
She added: “I wanted to be with my husband and it to work and he loved me, and I loved him.
“He was nice a lot of the time.
“Everybody would say we were good together.
“Why was I going to throw that away for some of the times he got too much?
“I lost all control.
“I just wanted to die and he said, ‘Go on, go on do it or get back to bed, you’re pathetic’.
“If I had been the normal Penny, I wouldn’t have done it.
“I am sorry, I lost the plot and lost control.”
Christopher Quinlan QC, prosecuting, asked the defendant about the transcript of the 999 call in which she told the operator she would not help her husband.
Jackson told the jury she accepted the contents of the transcript but could not remember saying it.
“I lost control, that’s the reality but I actually don’t remember doing it, or talking about this,” she said.
“I know I had to get him help by talking.
“Could I move by getting out of the chair?
“No, I am sorry but I don’t remember this.
“I was in a funk, totally gone.
“I tried to use the terminology you are using, I lost control.
“I don’t know what happened – I just snapped and I don’t remember this.”
Fighting back tears, she said: “I accept I did it and to be truthful, I don’t remember.
“I have told the truth the whole way through.
“I didn’t think.
“If I had thought, I wouldn’t have done what I did.
“I accept I have done something dreadful.
“He loved me, I loved him but something awful happened and I don’t remember doing that.”
The jury watched the body-worn footage from the officers who arrested Jackson, in which she told them she “should have stabbed him a bit more”.
Mr Quinlan asked: “At that moment you meant every word of it?”
Jackson replied: “I don’t remember saying it, I just remember being cold.”
Jackson admits manslaughter but denies murder, claiming he was coercive and controlling and also physically violent towards her.