'I just killed the wife': Court hears 999 call from husband who stabbed woman to death in bed

·3-min read

A man who stabbed his spouse more than 15 times with a kitchen knife as she lay in bed told a 999 operator: “I just killed the wife,” a court was told.

During the call, David Maggs, 71, who is on trial for the murder of Linda Maggs, repeatedly asked for “police” and, when asked what had happened, said: “I stabbed her,” jurors heard.

The 74-year-old mother and grandmother died in the attack at their home in Pontypool, South Wales on February 6 2021.

Retired accountant Maggs admitted to killing Ms Maggs but denies murder.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, saying he had “blanked out”.

The couple had been together for 28 years but Ms Maggs had been in the process of divorcing her husband, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

They had been living separate lives under the same roof after their relationship ended in March 2020, the jury was told.

Thirty years I’ve been married to her and she doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut, so I topped her

David Maggs, allegedly, to police

In the months leading up to his wife’s death, Mr Maggs became obsessed with the idea she was hiding money from him and would gain dishonestly from the divorce, prosecutors said.

He made threats to stab and kill his wife in front of a number of people, including an estate agent and housing officer.

Just after 9am on the day of his wife’s death, Mr Maggs took two kitchen knives upstairs to his wife’s room, leaving one outside her door, the court was told.

He told police he sat on the side of her bed where she was still lying under the blankets and told her he wanted to talk about the divorce.

When she told him to leave it for the solicitors, he became angry.

Mr Maggs claims the next thing he remembers is after the attack.

He called for emergency services and was asked by the operator if he believed Ms Maggs was alive or not, and replied: “Passed away, I think.”

He then said: “I don’t, I don’t know, I just, I just lost it.”

He added: “Just help me.”

Gwent Police officers entered the home and arrested a subdued Maggs, footage taken from their body-worn cameras showed.

In one clip, two red knives were visible on the bottom step of the stairs.

In my opinion, the degree of his impairment due to depression is significant. This is a case where there are clear and significant mental health problems. In my opinion, this is a case of diminished responsibility

Psychiatrist Dr Nuwan Galappathie

Mr Maggs told police officers at the scene: “I’ve just had enough. She tried to steal two houses from me, two houses.”

Later, in his police interview, Mr Maggs said: “Thirty years I’ve been married to her and she doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut, so I topped her”.

An investigation into the financial aspects of their divorce found no impropriety on the part of Mrs Maggs but discovered the defendant had not declared a savings account that held £14,000, jurors heard.

Sarah Jones QC, defending, argued her client’s depression would have impaired his judgement.

Psychiatrist Dr Nuwan Galappathie told the jury: “In my opinion, the degree of his impairment due to depression is significant.

“This is a case where there are clear and significant mental health problems. In my opinion, this is a case of diminished responsibility.”

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