Hen-pecked man cleared of murdering partner

A hen-pecked man who was nagged for 30 years before he stabbed his partner to death was cleared of her murder today.

Dennis Long, 59, was convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Despite hating violence, Long killed 62-year-old grandmother Judith Scott, the partner he lived with for three decades, after years of abuse which included being beaten with a poker.

He will be sentenced later today.

Long snapped and stabbed her three times at their home in North Shields, North Tyneside, in March.

During their relationship, she repeatedly beat him with an ornamental poker, nagged him and even broke his thumb, the court has heard.

Her daughter Kerry Scott backed up his story that he had been plagued for years.

Ms Scott's other daughter Paula made a Victim Impact Statement which was read out in court after the verdict on her step-father was announced.

It said: "When I now look back at what happened I cannot understand why Dennis did what he did.

"All I can think is something inside him must have snapped.

"I also feel guilty that I do not hate him.

"Knowing Dennis as I do, I also believe the guilt for what he has done will live with him for the rest of his life.

"Dennis has done the worst thing in the world to us, he has taken our mother.

"But I cannot hate him.

"He has been the only dad I have ever known and I still think of him as my dad.

"He has always provided for us and been there to support us.

"He was the nicest man you would ever meet and he hated violence and swearing which is why I find it so hard to understand what he has done."

On the night he killed her, Long said she was particularly abusive and accused him of being weak after he was bullied on his way home from the pub by a local man.

After the attack, he rang 999 and told the call handler: "I just lost it, she gave me grief so I knifed her."

Graham Hyland QC, defending, told Judge John Milford: "His remorse and regret is both genuine and heart-felt."

The judge accepted Long had been provoked but said the hard-working former plumber could, as the bread-winner, have permanently moved out of the family home.

The court has heard Long did leave his partner on occasions because of the violence, but returned because he loved her.

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