Killer mother freed after court hears of abuse

A WOMAN who stabbed her partner to death was freed yesterday after the judge heard of the years of abuse she suffered at his hands.

Melanie Stokes, 28, was given three years' probation for manslaughter after she admitted killing Martin Taylor at their home in Cheadle Heath, Greater Manchester, last December. Judge Rhys Davies at Manchester Crown Court heard how she was dominated by Mr Taylor throughout their 10-year relationship and suffered mental and physical abuse at his hands.

Stokes claimed diminished responsibility, and said she had been beaten up by him 15 times in their time together. He was described as jealous and protective and would become angry if she expressed any interest in anyone or anything outside the home.

On the night of the killing, the couple had argued after an all-day drinking session at a nearby pub which ended in the early hours. As the argument turned violent, Stokes picked up a six-inch kitchen knife and stabbed Taylor in the chest, penetrating his heart.

The baby-sitter heard Stokes say "Bastard, I have had enough of you" but when ambulance staff arrived she was cradling her semi-conscious victim in her arms, crying: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it."

He was taken to Stepping Hill Hospital but died shortly after. Judge Rhys Davies said he accepted Stokes had loved her partner and bitterly regretted her actions, telling her: "This is not a let-off."

The same defence was famously used by Emma Humphries and Sara Thornton in their appeals against conviction for killing violent partners. Both were freed from Holloway Prison in 1995.

Jailed at the age of 17 for stabbing her lover to death, Ms Humphries walked free after ten years in prison. She slit her own wrists with a knife she took from a kitchen cupboard before stabbing her lover. "I knew I couldn't carry on," she said.

Mrs Thornton followed her out of prison three weeks later after a five- year campaign of protest to overturn her conviction for the murder of her husband Malcolm.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test