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"Bullying" bride Sharon Edwards gets life for murder of lawyer husband

A "bullying and violent" new bride has been jailed for life after she was convicted of murdering her solicitor husband.

Sharon Edwards, 42, stabbed to death criminal defence lawyer David Edwards, 51, at their home in Chorley, Lancashire, just two months after they married in Las Vegas.

Jailing her at Manchester Crown Court for a minimum of 20 years, Mr Justice William Davis told the defendant she had "robbed people of a decent man".

Mr Edwards was the victim of "forceful bullying" and had suffered at the hands of Edwards during the "turbulent" year-long relationship in which he was regularly beaten and belittled, the trial heard.

It culminated in him being fatally stabbed in the heart with a kitchen knife on August 23 last year.

Friends and colleagues warned the "besotted" solicitor to leave domineering and possessive Edwards after he began turning up on the court circuit with black eyes, scratches and bite marks - even disclosing to one that his wife had hit him with a coffee table and an ashtray.

The court heard that part of Edwards's rage was because her new husband had been made redundant and was later sacked, having previously held a partnership status at Stanley H Cross & Co which was to be taken over by Kevills.

The trial heard that the killing was to be the second attack in as many successive days in which Edwards had used a knife in anger against Mr Edwards - who she knew would never fight back or call the police.

After he was found dead, Mr Edwards's bruised and cut body was to further reveal the extent of the regular assaults.

It showed 60 external injuries, of which 30 were incised or prod wounds, including stab wounds to his thigh, knee, finger and a shallow wound to his scalp.

Edwards claimed his injuries were a result of her alcoholic husband falling over when in drink.

In her defence, she claimed Mr Edwards walked into the knife she was holding in a row about tax credits only hours after they returned from an all-expenses paid Spanish holiday.

The jury, which began deliberating on Monday afternoon, disbelieved her version of events and unanimously convicted her of murder.

Before sentencing, the court heard that Edwards had previous convictions and cautions related to domestic abuse including a 2004 attack on a former partner who was bitten on the forearm and punched to the side of the face.

Mr Justice Davis said Mr Edwards was "a hugely valued member of the community in Chorley and elsewhere".

He read out part of a letter he received from a magistrate who sat in Chorley where Mr Edwards would regularly represent clients.

It stated: "Over the years we have come to know David well. He was a very engaging person with a wry grin.

"He was always proud of his reputation and integrity as an officer of the court.

"His tragic death has affected every member of the Chorley bench, and I am sure the wider legal fraternity, very deeply.

"David was held in extremely high regard by every member of the Chorley bench."

Addressing the defendant, the judge said: "It is clear that was a view widely held and your bullying of him, which ended with this tragic death, has robbed people of a decent man.

"You are someone who has attacked people in the past. You have a bullying and violent nature."

He said he was "quite satisfied" that it was not the first time she had attacked Mr Edwards with a knife and that over the preceding months she had assaulted him on more than one occasion.

The judge added: "This deadly attack was the culmination of long-term bullying by you on this respected member of the community."

He said he accepted that she did not intend to kill him but that she certainly meant to cause really serious harm.

Edwards showed no emotion on delivery of the verdict or when she was led from the dock.

Her barrister, David Fish QC, said the mother-of-four was "at a very low ebb" and had "lost everything".

Jurors heard that on the evening before his death, after returning from Majorca, Mr Edwards was found in the bathroom bleeding from his chest and leg by Edwards' 19-year-old daughter.

She had confronted her mother - who was, like her partner, a heavy drinker, and who had earlier bought four bottles of wine from an off licence. Edwards was to tell her daughter that she had not intended to hurt him.

The trial was told that the newlyweds were to go to the pub, where Edwards remained, "drunkenly and callously unconcerned" about her husband, who was still bleeding.

They were later brought home by a patrolling police officer who had seen Edwards screaming at him in the street.

Edwards was heard on footage recorded on the officer's body camera telling her bloodied new husband: "I'm gonna f****** kill ya."

She went on to tell him: "I swear David, when I wake up tomorrow I don't know what mood I'm going to be in."

The next day the row continued and Mr Edwards was fatally stabbed.

Edwards further claimed he had "begged" her not to phone for an ambulance and that in the hours that passed they had sex before she fell asleep on the sofa.

A black-handled kitchen knife measuring 13in (34cm) in length and stained with blood was found at their home.

At the scene, ripped wedding photographs were also found.

During the trial, the court heard she had called him a "has been" in front of strangers, and even called him at work screeching, "What sort of f****** man are you?"

Mr Edwards was said to have minimised his injuries and would say he had fallen down stairs or walked in to doors.

Upon her arrest and charge, Edwards claimed to not accept that her husband was dead, talking about him in the present and repeatedly telling police "he's not dead".

On the last day of evidence at her trial she claimed that Mr Edwards had spiked her wine with diazepam in a "desperate" attempt to minimise her crime.

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