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The Independent Online
A personality disorder prevents Sara Thornton giving evidence at her murder trial, her defence counsel said yesterday. Michael Mansfield QC told Oxford Crown Court that Mrs Thornton has a condition called dissociation and that if she gave evidence the hearing could become "some sort of psychiatric laboratory".

Mrs Thornton, 41, denies murdering her husband, Malcolm, at their home in Atherstone, Warwickshire, in 1989. It is the second time she has been tried for the killing after the Appeal Court ordered a retrial. She says she stabbed him accidentally after a row and that he was an alcoholic who beat her up. The prosecution alleges that she is a pathological liar who killed him because she was worried about losing her share in their house.

"The main issue is what was in her mind when the knife entered fatally, as it turned out, the body of her husband," Mr Mansfield said in his opening speech. He said the jury would also have to consider whether Mrs Thornton had been provoked and whether she was suffering from diminished responsibility. The trial continues.

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