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Murder accused: "I didn't mean to kill her"
A MAN who stabbed his estranged partner to death with a foot-long kitchen knife told a jury yesterday (Wednesday, October 24): “I didn't mean to kill her – I cared for her so much.”
Christine Henderson was knifed 11 times in the head, neck and chest a week after ending her 18-month relationship with 47-year-old Graham Gibson.
Gibson accepts killing the mother-of-three at around midnight on July 1, but denies murdering the 50-year-old. He claims he was provoked and lost control.
In a series of police interviews after his arrest, he described Mrs Henderson as “a horrible, nasty vindictive piece of work” when she had been drinking.
He revealed how his victim had been boozing all day before they met at the home of her friend in Middlesbrough and argued about one of his ex-partners.
Giving evidence at Teesside Crown Court, Gibson said he snapped and knifed Mrs Henderson because he “wanted her to shut up” and “stop going on at me”.
He described her as “beautiful” when she had not been drinking, but said alcohol changed her mood and she became “more temperamental and aggressive”.
Gibson said he tolerated Mrs Henderson's drinking because “I cared about her so much” and described the early stages of their relationship as “brilliant”.
He admitted stealing from his partner to fund his gambling habit – on horses and roulette machines – but denied ever being aggressive towards her.
Under cross-examination from prosecutor Jamie Hill, QC, the jobless father denied being a “sponger” who used Mrs Henderson simply for her money.
Mr Hill asked him: “Did you ever actually genuinely care for Mrs Henderson?”. Gibson replied in a stern voice: “Absolutely, 100 per cent.”
The court heard how he twice proposed to the woman he met on an internet dating site – once just several weeks before the killing on July 1 this year.
Gibson visited Mrs Henderson at a friend's house in Middlesbrough, where she was staying after leaving their home in Kent Avenue, Hartlepool.
The court has heard that Mrs Henderson had had enough of his threatening and violent behaviour and his stealing from her to fund his gambling habit.
Gibson told the jury that he did not like confrontation, was not argumentative and “just sat back and stayed calm” whenever Mrs Henderson started a row.
Asked by his barrister, Maura McGarry, QC, if he had intended to kill Mrs Henderson, he replied: “I didn't mean for her to die.”
The trial continues.