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Robin Turner, WalesOnline
A former miner who stabbed to death his wife of 41 years after they had an argument over a cup of tea has been jailed for a minimum term of 11 years.
Dewi Evans, 61, of Pontyberem, near Llanelli, had denied murdering his 57-year-old wife Jackie, instead admitting manslaughter on the grounds his wife’s behaviour had made him “lose control”.
The father-of-two stabbed his wife 24 times with a lock knife and the attack included four penetrating wounds to the throat.
The attack is said to have happened after the pair rowed when Mrs Evans refused the offer of a cup of tea from her husband.
After a trial at Swansea Crown Court last month a jury found Evans guilty of murder.
And sentencing Evans to life with a minimum term of 11 years at the same court yesterday, Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said he did not believe the defendant’s story his wife attacked him first with a kitchen knife.
It was claimed on Evans’s behalf during the trial he felt belittled by his wife, alleging she would call him names or pull him by the hair.
The court heard that around seven years ago Evans suffered what his daughter Germaine called “a complete change of character” after finding the dead body of a neighbour who had suffered a heart attack.
Before that, he had been described as “good company”, someone who enjoyed a joke, a hard worker and a good husband and father.
However, afterwards he became “needy”, always wanting to be by his wife’s side and he falsely accused her of having an affair and even tracked her movements using binoculars.
He was treated by a local health team and received medication for depression.
Even his barrister Chris Clee QC, agreed his behaviour would have “tested the patience of a saint”.
On November 11 last year, at their bungalow in Maesyfelin, Pontyberem, Evans claimed he and his wife argued when she refused his offer of a cup of tea as they sat watching afternoon television.
His version of events was that his wife swore at him and stabbed him in the stomach with a kitchen knife and he responded by fatally stabbing her in the throat with a lock knife.
He told police he could only remember stabbing her twice but medical evidence showed she suffered numerous cuts and four deep stab wounds to the throat, one even penetrating the upper spine.
The judge told Evans today: “I make it clear there is no truth in the allegation that before you killed your wife she threatened you with a knife and stabbed you in the abdomen.”
The judge said the defendant had stabbed himself and he added there was no truth in the claim Evans was systematically abused by his wife.
And Mr Justice Lloyd Jones also praised the Evans family, who were not present today, but who attended every day of the trial.
He said: “The family have been a dignified presence throughout this trial.”
He added the ordeal the family suffered had been made worse by allegations in the case against Mrs Evans which he said were “totally unfounded”.
He told Evans :”You have been found guilty of murdering your who you were married to for more than 41 years.
“Her pointless death has cast a shadow over members of your family. The effect of what you have done has been devastating.”
The trial heard that shortly before her death Jackie Evans told her daughter Germaine she was considering leaving her husband because of his behaviour.
During the case, Mr Clee asked the court to take into account the defendant’s abrupt change of character.
He said: “April 5, 2004, the day Dewi Evans found his neighbour dead, is an important date because before that, as you have heard, he was a hard-working man, a grafter, a good husband and father, someone, his daughter said, ‘You could have a laugh and a joke with’ and his mother-in-law said ‘Dewi is a good boy’.
“Witness Ann Jenkins said of him and his wife: ‘They had a marvellous relationship, Jackie said he was the best thing since sliced bread and her heart used to flutter when she saw him walking towards the house’.
“But all that changed overnight.
“What happened had a devastating effect on him and he was diagnosed afterwards as suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
“There’s no doubt that afterwards his behaviour would have tested the patience of a saint.”
Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said today he took into account Evans’s medical condition and pointed out the defendant himself even said his claim she was having an affair was “in his head”.
He added what happened was “a spontaneous eruption of violence”.