Jeweller cleared of murder after stabbing boyfriend who 'waterboarded' her and bit her face

Telegraph Reporters
Stephen Raynor and Elizabeth Hart-Browne - Central News

A jeweller who stabbed her boyfriend to death was cleared of murder after saying she feared him so much she took out life insurance. 

Elizabeth Hart-Browne said she acted in self-defence fearing that her lover would kill her after he "waterboarded" her in their bathtub and bit her face. 

Jurors at the Old Bailey heard that Ms Hart Browne, 27 sobbed and said "I have just killed the man I love" as she was arrested for the murder of Stephen Rayner, 25 in September last year.

Ms Hart-Browne had previously been forced to defend herself with a stiletto shoe after Mr Rayner attacked her outside a nightclub in 2012.

He was arrested and received an 18-month community order at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court, including a domestic violence programme, after admitting the assault.

Elizabeth Hart-Browne was cleared of murder at the Old Bailey Credit: TIM STEWART NEWS LIMITED

On another occasion Ms Hart-Browne was left unconscious after he pushed her into a mirror at her mother's house, where they were living at the time. 

In other attacks Mr Rayner had cut Ms Hart-Browne's head, threatened to kill her while trying to kick the front door down and punched her in the face because he complained she hadn't done the washing up.

In June last year he held her head under bath taps, forcing her to kick through one of the bathtub's panel to escape.

She said Mr Rayner was obsessed with 'Britain's most violent criminal', Charles Bronson, and would channel his rage when he got angry.

"He liked his attitude, he liked his being,' she said.

"He liked his aggression. There's a lot of stories about him in prison attacking other prisoners and prison guards.

"He tried to take on that personality sometimes when he was angry."

Elizabeth Hart-Browne leaves the Old Bailey in London Credit: Emily Pennick/PA

But she had also beaten Mr Rayner with a candlestick and launched a public attack on him outside a pub just a week before giving birth to their child, in a row about him looking at another woman on a bus, the court heard.

The stabbing took place after Ms Hart-Browne came home to their flat in Acton, west London, from a family party on September 17 last year.

Mr Rayner began hitting her and grabbed her by the throat, the court heard. 

She picked up a large kitchen knife and stabbed Mr Rayner three times, inflicting a fatal wound to the neck.

She said she 'forgot' the knife was in her hand and was just trying to push Mr Rayner off her when she stabbed him.

"I thought he was going to kill me," she told the court. 

He staggered outside and collapsed in a pool of blood as shocked neighbours rushed to help.

She was recorded wailing "I need an ambulance" in a harrowing 999 call.

When police arrived she was barefoot and wearing only one earring. She was hysterical as she told officers: "I didn't mean to do it, I'm so sorry."

She broke down in tears as the jury found her not guilty of murder after 15 hours of deliberation.

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