Woman convicted of murdering partner with steak knife after retrial

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A woman has been convicted of murdering her partner with a steak knife after a retrial ordered by the Court of Appeal.

Emma-Jayne Magson, 28, was initially found guilty of killing James Knight in 2016, but the Court of Appeal ruled the conviction unsafe in 2019 and ordered a retrial.

She had claimed self-defence at the first trial but was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 17 years.

Mr Knight, 26, died after a single stab wound to the heart after a drunken row between the pair in March 2016.

Magson's second trial took place at Birmingham Crown Court, where a jury again found her guilty by a majority verdict of 10-2 on Friday.

Judge Mr Justice Jeremy Barker told her she would be sentenced at the same court on March 29.

Magson's application for a retrial was supported by campaign group Justice for Women.

After the verdict, the killer swayed momentarily before sitting back down with her shoulders slumped forward, but continued to listen to the judge's comments thanking the jury for its consideration of the case.

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Launching her appeal in December 2019, Clare Wade QC told how Magson suffered a "volatile" relationship with the victim.

The Court of Appeal heard how Magson, from Leicester, stabbed Mr Knight after he had been kicking at her front door "in circumstances where the deceased had been violent to her earlier in the evening".

A retrial was secured after a psychiatric assessment showed the defence of diminished responsibility would have been available to the accused at her first trial.

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The submissions by Magson's lawyer were opposed by the Crown Prosecution's QC, who said the fresh evidence could have been obtained before the original trial.

Prosecutors also contended Magson had effectively participated in her first trial and was able to "make important decisions affecting the trial process".

In their judgment granting a retrial, Lord Justice Fulford, Mr Justice William Davis and Mr Justice Johnson said: "We are confronted with the situation in which the prosecution and defence psychiatric experts have unequivocally concluded that there is, in their view, a strong basis for the appellant to contend that the correct verdict was manslaughter and not murder.

"On the evidence now available, we are left in no doubt as to whether the applicant was rightly convicted of murder and it follows that the appeal, on this basis, must be allowed, given this option was not left for the jury's consideration."

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