Woman who stabbed husband in row while cooking jailed for minimum of nine years

A woman who stabbed her husband with a kitchen knife during an argument while cooking their tea has been sentenced to life with a minimum term of nine years.

Teresa Hanson fatally wounded construction manager Paul Hanson in the kitchen of their home in West Cowick, East Yorkshire, three days after Christmas last year.

The 54-year-old told 999 call operators she had stabbed him after a row, but later said to police that Mr Hanson had effectively walked onto the knife when he walked towards her as she was cooking, Hull Crown Court heard.

The former hairdresser denied murder, and said during her trial that she had simply pushed Mr Hanson away while holding a knife because he was shouting in her face, telling her to “throw his f****** tea in the bin”.

Paul Hanson death
Paul Hanson was fatally stabbed at a property in West Cowick, Yorkshire, three days after Christmas (Humberside Police/PA)

Hanson told jurors she went back to chopping onions and had no idea the knife had gone into Mr Hanson until she heard the dog barking and followed a trail of blood to find her husband, 54, collapsed on the floor.

She was found guilty of murder by a jury after less than three hours of deliberations. A different jury failed to reach a verdict earlier this year.

Mr and Mrs Hanson’s son Ryan told the court the family had “never doubted (Hanson’s) account of what happened that day” and referred to Mr Hanson’s death as an “accident”.

Ryan Hanson, who read a victim personal statement on behalf of himself and his sister at the sentencing hearing, said their mother had the “full support” of both sides of the family.

He asked the judge “for all your leniency and goodwill” in sentencing his mother, adding: “We have lost our rock, the core of our family, the people who kept us going. Their door was always open to us.

“Since the accident our worlds have changed forever.”

On Tuesday, Hanson sobbed in the dock as Judge John Thackray KC handed her a life sentence with a minimum term of nine years, minus 15 days spent on remand.

The judge said the defendant had been “subject to significant provocation” from Mr Hanson “who, not for the first time, was verbally abusing you”.

Judge Thackray told Hanson: “You were attempting, in his interests, to curtail his drinking. He sought to continue the argument as you were cooking dinner…

“You used a knife in a spontaneous act of violence by stabbing him to the chest area. Not for one moment did you intend to kill your husband, but you did, even if only briefly, intend to cause him serious harm.”

The judge added: “I accept you will never forgive yourself and will live with the guilt and burden of his death for the rest of your life.

“However, I don’t lose sight of the fact that Paul Hanson, a hard-working, devoted family man, has lost his life due to your criminal act. His provocation to you did not justify your action.”

Hanson told the police that her husband could be bad-tempered when he had had a drink, but the court heard she was clear that she did not stab him because he had been abusive to her and that it had been an accident.

Hanson told her trial there had been no problems between the couple over Christmas, but that an argument had started that day when she told Mr Hanson to wait until he had eaten before having any more to drink.

She said she had drunk around two glasses of red wine, while her husband had had three or four, and she could tell he had “had enough”.

Hanson said that as she was preparing their tea, Mr Hanson walked up to her and was shouting in her face, telling her to “throw his f****** tea in the bin”.

Hanson claimed she turned towards him and pushed him away with both hands, while holding a knife in her right hand, but had no idea it made contact with him and went back to cooking.

Prosecutor Alistair MacDonald KC asked the jury: “Is she really expecting you to believe she failed completely to notice her husband, who must have been just a few paces away from her, was bent double moving away from her, dripping blood all over that kitchen floor?

“She didn’t notice any of that. She just went on calmly cooking onions with the same knife.

“Is it credible that in his death agony … as he moved out of that kitchen that he said absolutely nothing? He didn’t sigh, groan or gasp, didn’t say ‘Teresa what have you done to me?’”