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Friday, October 08, 2010

Hen-pecked husband cleared of murdering wife

Hen-pecked husband cleared of murdering wife

Dennis Long cleared of murdering wife who nagged and beat him

Simon Terry
Last updated October 7 2010 11:31PM
(Times £)

A man who claimed he was driven to kill his partner by 30 years of violence and nagging has been cleared of murder.

Dennis Long, 59, was jailed for four years and eight months for manslaughter. Long, sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, stabbed Judith Scott, 60, in March in the arm and twice in the chest.

The jury was told that Long, a plumber, endured prolonged physical and verbal abuse in the 30-year relationship, including being beaten with a poker. He said that on the night he killed her at their home in North Shields, North Tyneside, he had snapped.

She had called him weak, “a pansy”, “a poof” and told him she should wear the trousers and he should be in a dress.He confessed to the attack immediately afterwards when he called 999. “I just lost it,” he said. “She gave me grief so I knifed her.”

The killing followed Long telling Ms Scott that he had been abused on the way home from the pub by a local bully but that he would not take it further with police.

During their relationship, she repeatedly beat him with an ornamental poker, nagged him and even broke his thumb, the court was told. During sentencing, Judge John Milford called Long a “placid, unassertive, rather weak man”. The judge said that the defendant was “full of genuine remorse” and was a hard-working man of previous good character.

He added that the background to the killing was 30 years of severe conduct and some physical abuse by Ms Scott.Judge Milford paid tribute to Ms Scott’s daughters, Kerry and Paula, who were brought up by Long. Both had made victim impact statements in which they said they could not hate their killer stepfather.

The judge said: “I would like to express my appreciation for their dignified behaviour throughout and my admiration for their candour. In the light of what happened, it can be no easy thing to record things as they actually see them.

“I hope in the fullness of time there will be healing of the wounds that they have suffered through the loss of their mother.”

The judge said there had been “cumulative provocation” over several years. He noted that Long, who was the breadwinner in the relationship, was not in the same situation as women who felt unable to escape an oppressive relationship because they had no income of their own.

Long did leave his partner on occasions, but always returned, telling the jury it was because he loved her.

Kerry Scott gave a statement outside court praising her mother. “Many people knew my mam and what she was like and, even though at times she was difficult and strong in character, we all loved her very much. Mam has left a big hole in all our lives and we will always remember her with a smile.”

Ms Scott had four grandchildren, and her first great-granddaughter was born after she was killed.

Paula Scott’s statement, read out in court before sentencing, said: “When I now look back at what happened, I cannot understand why Dennis did what he did. All I can think is something inside him must have snapped.

“I also feel guilty that I do not hate him. Knowing Dennis as I do, I also believe the guilt for what he has done will live with him for the rest of his life. Dennis has done the worst thing in the world to us — he has taken our mother. But I cannot hate him.

“He has been the only dad I have ever known and I still think of him as my dad. He has always provided for us and been there to support us. He was the nicest man you would ever meet and he hated violence and swearing, which is why I find it so hard to understand what he has done.”

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