Woman who stabbed boyfriend can appeal murder conviction

22 November 2018, 15:25 | Updated: 22 November 2018, 15:27

Emma Magson Leicester Murdered Boyfriend

A woman jailed for her boyfriend's murder has been given the go-ahead for a Court of Appeal challenge against her conviction.

Emma-Jayne Magson, 25, of Sylvan Street, Leicester, stabbed 26-year-old James Knight in the heart with a steak knife in March 2016.

She was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment at Leicester Crown Court in November 2016.

Her lawyers say "fresh evidence" has come to light that she may have been suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the killing.

At a hearing in London on Thursday, her barrister Clare Wade QC argued that the trial judge was "wrong not to leave the partial defence of loss of control to the jury".

Ms Wade said Magson's emotionally unstable personality disorder "substantially impaired her ability to exercise self-control".

Senior judges found that Magson had an "arguable" case and granted permission to appeal.

A jury at Leicester Crown Court heard that Magson and Mr Knight had a "volatile" relationship and had been in a drunken row in the run-up to the fatal attack.

Magson was described as "cold, brutal and manipulative" and was accused of "sacrificing" Mr Knight by delaying calling emergency services for around 30 minutes.

Sentencing her, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: "You have demonstrated no real remorse for what you did - on the contrary, you have effectively blamed James Knight for what you did."

Ms Wade said Magson's diagnosis of emotionally unstable personality disorder "provides an explanation for her conduct and was a significant contributory factor".

She added that it was arguably "more likely than not that, at the time of the offence, (Magson) was suffering from diminished responsibility".

Ms Wade said Magson's "disability, if I may call it that, was not known at the time of the trial", adding that the "fresh evidence" provided arguable grounds to consider her conviction unsafe.

Mrs Justice Carr, sitting with Lord Justice Simon and Judge Martin Picton, read from Magson's written statement prepared for the trial, which said Mr Knight "grabbed me around my throat... he is very strong and held on to my throat".

Magson added that she "reached out to grab something" from the kitchen sink and picked up a steak knife.

She said: "I hit out once. It happened so quickly, I cannot be sure how it happened. I didn't want to harm him."

Granting permission for a full appeal hearing, Mrs Justice Carr said Magson's contention that she was suffering from diminished responsibility and that her conviction was unsafe due to her vulnerability was arguable.

Speaking after the hearing, Magson's solicitor Louise Bullivant said: "It is a step in the right direction and I'm just delighted that the court has acknowledged (Magson's) vulnerability and allowed us to proceed."