Man who knifed ex-wife to death 'was provoked by divorce party'

A 63-year-old man stabbed his ex-wife to death on the day she was holding a divorce party, a court heard yesterday. Brian Jones, of Marske, near Redcar, East Cleveland, denies murdering Katrina Jones, 34, last November, claiming he was provoked by her celebration and that he had begged her not to hold it.

Teesside Crown Court was told that banners were put up outside the couple's former home, declaring: "The Party's Here" and "Congratulations". Inside, there were balloons and streamers, while a poster said: "Katrina's Divorce Party. Free at last." Mr Jones, who was living next door with a neighbour, Brian Fowle, claimed he snapped after he saw a photo of himself in the house with "Pin the Tail on the X" written beside it.

The court was told he stabbed his former partner nine times in the chest and three times in the arm with a kitchen knife, before ringing 999 and telling the operator: "I have stabbed my wife, please come quickly." He added: "I don't want her to die, I love her to bits."

The jury heard the couple's 10-year marriage began to falter in 2008, and Mrs Jones started divorce proceedings after she began an affair with an old friend. Franz Muller QC, prosecuting, said Mrs Jones saw a solicitor in March last year, but the defendant wanted to patch up their marriage. The divorce came through in September, some weeks before Mr Jones killed her at their former home in Church Close, Marske, the court heard.

Mr Muller said she had told her lover her husband had warned that "if he couldn't have her, no other man could". She called police when one row turned violent, but did not press charges.

Mr Jones told police: "I became aware Katrina was holding a divorce party. I begged her not to do this because it upset me so much. She just laughed at me. She placed a photograph of me on the back of the door and there was a note inviting people to stick pins in my image. At this point I believe I snapped and suffered a temporary loss of control." The case, expected to last two weeks, continues.