A piece by Katie Gibbons in yesterday’s Times, emphases ours:
A midwife accused of murdering her husband is said to have beaten him with a rolling pin in months of abuse leading up to his death.
Hannegret Donnelly, 54, confessed to beating Christopher Donnelly, 55, after a row at the house the couple shared with their four children but denies murdering him.
She called an ambulance 12 hours after he died of bronchial pneumonia in the bathroom while the family were all at home, Kingston-upon-Thames crown court was told.
Mr Donnelly, a biochemist and musician, had endured violent abuse at the hands of his wife in the two years before his death in March last year, it is alleged. The court heard he suffered 68 separate injuries. His wife, who was born in Germany, denies murdering her husband by repeatedly inflicting injuries that resulted in his poor health and eventual death. She also denies inflicting grievous bodily harm over the previous two years.
Two months before her husband died, Mrs Donnelly wrote in a diary: “I didn’t let him go to the toilet.” The prosecution says that this indicates the control she had over him.
Old blood that matched Mr Donnelly’s was found at the family home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. It was on the walls and ceiling by the front door, the hallway, staircase, dining room, kitchen and bathroom, as well as radiators, furniture, blinds and tiles.
When she was asked by the 999 operator why she had waited so long to raise the alarm, Mrs Donnelly said: “We wanted to grieve.”
Eloise Marshall, QC, for the prosecution said:“In the last year of his life Mr Donnelly was subjected to repeated serious domestic abuse.” Most of the injuries had been caused by blunt trauma, mostly to the head, neck, shoulders and back.
Mr Donnelly was described as a “talented musician” who had studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London and played the saxophone and clarinet.
Paramedics arrived at the house on March 30 last year and found him “covered in multiple wounds, gashes, about 20 in all,” Ms Marshall told the court. Mrs Donnelly told them that the injuries occurred two weeks previously, adding: “I did hit him over the head with a rolling pin after a falling-out. Christopher wouldn’t have wanted to go to the hospital. He doesn’t like doctors.”
Paramedics felt a strange atmosphere at the cluttered home, Ms Marshall said. “The defendant did not appear panicked or distressed,” she said. Medical staff observed that the family seemed detached from the death.
Paramedics also noticed that Mr Donnelly’s nose was flat and had a large wound across the top and his face and ears were deformed.“He appears never to have retaliated when she inflicted these injuries,” said Ms Marshall.
The couple met in 1992 and had four children, now aged between 14 and 22. “Their household was a complex and strange one and even though they seemed a conventional family, over the years they withdrew from life outside and the children were home taught,” Ms Marshall said.
Family members said that Mrs Donnelly was “controlling” and that the couple had “lost a grip on reality” and talked about “living in end times.”
The trial continues and is expected to last three weeks.
You can subscribe to The Times here.
If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.