Mum was stabbed 96 times — (The Evening Gazette)

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The Evening Gazette

00:00, 11 MAY 2005

The family of Teesside manslaughter victim Maria Jones – reportedly stabbed 96 times – were still coming to terms with their loss today as her killer husband waits to learn his fate.

Policeman Graham Jones, of Barwick Close, Ingleby Barwick, admitted stabbing his wife after she told him of an affair with a 21-year-old man.

The 40-year-old PC better known as Ivor, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his 36-year-old wife on the grounds of diminished responsibility, at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

He is in custody at the Hutton Unit of St Luke’s psychiatric hospital, in Middlesbrough, awaiting sentence on June 3.

His wife died in the frenzied attack at their #250,000 detached home on December 2 last year.

Maria’s parents, Ron and June Phillips, and brother, Anthony, were unavailable for comment today. And detectives who probed the killing also refused to comment until after sentencing.

Few details about the case were heard yesterday in court after the officer entered his guilty plea.

At a Teesside magistrates hearing in December, which can only now be reported, the troubled family background was revealed.

Maria, a hairdresser, supported Jones through the death of his father and brother, within months of each other, and he began treatment for depression last September.

Jones’ father was retired policeman Graham Arthur Jones, 76, who died after falling from his hospital bed and breaking his leg.

The couple were also put through the trauma of a “malicious” charge that they had physically abused a child – the case was only dropped on the day the Crown court trial was to begin, magistrates were told.

But the difficulties put a strain on the marriage and Mrs Jones went to stay with her parents near Burton-on-Trent.

Craig Beer, representing the officer then, said: “While there she formed a relationship with a 21-year-old.”

Jones was suspicious and when he challenged his wife, she admitted the affair.

“She used to taunt Mr Jones about his sexual powers compared to the 21-year-old,” Mr Beer said.

The officer, who worked in Hartlepool for Cleveland Police and had 20 years experience, was prepared to forgive his wife, Mr Beer said, but she wanted an “open marriage”.

At yesterday’s Crown court hearing, Franz Muller QC, prosecuting, said Jones claimed his wife told him: “You know I have slept with this man on a number of occasions, how are you going to put up with the fact that I am going to sleep with other people?”

Jones had telephoned his sister Debbie Robertson before the attack. The prosecution claim she told police officers that he had threatened to kill his wife.

But she claimed she told the officers her brother had merely said he wanted to kill himself.

She went to the house and found her brother with a “haunted look”.

She called police and they discovered Mrs Jones with multiple stab wounds in the bedroom. She was dead. Jones was slumped across her, having taken a number of sleeping tablets.

After he was arrested he told officers he would make further attempts to kill himself. Jones was remanded in custody and will be sentenced by Judge Peter Fox on June 3.

Neighbours in the Jones’ quiet street described Maria as a “nice, chatty lady”.

Tributes were also paid to a “very, very popular” woman at her former school, Robert Sutton High, in Stapenhill, Burton-on-Trent.

The mum-of-three had a 13-year-old son from her first marriage and two sons aged ten and eight from her current relationship.

Angela Stott, a close colleague at the Yarm hairdressing salon where Maria worked, described her as “a lovely, bubbly, chatty person.”