Husband stabbed wife to death after New Year's Eve argument, court told

A husband stabbed his wife to death after taking part in a drinking game on New Year's Eve - and then repeatedly asked police to shoot him, a court has heard.

Thursday, 7th June 2018, 4:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 11:26 am
Court news
Court news

David Clark, who denies the murder of 44-year-old Melanie Clark, allegedly dialled the emergency services nine minutes before midnight and told the operator: "I am sorry, I have killed my wife."

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court was told the victim was found dead at the couple's home in Cloverdale, Stoke Prior, near Bromsgrove, in the early hours of January 1.

Opening the Crown's case against Clark on Thursday, prosecutor Benjamin Aina QC said the defendant - whose birthday is on New Year's Day - and his wife were both estimated to be more than double the drink-drive limit at the time of the stabbing.

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Jurors heard the couple had visited a friend's home on New Year's Eve, where they had shared three bottles of prosecco before playing a snakes and ladders drinking game using American whiskey and apple shots.

After they left their friend's property, apparently in good spirits, the couple returned home in a taxi and started to argue, the court heard.

Clark, who later told police he could not remember stabbing his wife, was arrested at about 12.30am after armed police were deployed to detain him.

The 49-year-old, who was born in South Africa but has a British passport, is alleged to have told an emergency call-handler: "I can't believe I f***ing did it. I am f***ing devastated, I don't know why I did it."

Clark, who had allegedly threatened to kill himself, told police he could not remember comments made to officers who told him: "We are not going to shoot you."

Opening the case, Mr Aina told the jury: "On New Year's Eve last year, just before midnight, David Clark telephoned the emergency services and he told them he had killed his wife.

"Police officers arrived at his home and they found the body of his wife in an upstairs bedroom. She had been stabbed once to the chest.

"It is the prosecution's case that Melanie Clark was killed by her husband following an argument.

"During the argument on New Year's Eve, Melanie Clark had told her husband that she wanted him to leave their home in the morning.

"He couldn't take the rejection and killed his wife."

After he was taken to Worcester police station, Mr Clark said he could not remember stabbing his wife, who grew up in Durban and had four children from previous relationships.

Mr Aina told the jury: "He said that he didn't know that he had used a knife, just that he had hurt her."

The jury panel was told that Clark and his wife, who occupied separate rooms, used mobile phones to send each other a series of messages after returning home.

After Clark had sent a message claiming his wife had previously had a sexual encounter with another woman, she wrote replies reading: "You need to grow the f*** up. Obviously not with me because I am done.

"Will call the police to remove you from my property tomorrow."

Mr Aina told the jury they were likely to have to focus on Clark's intention at the time of the stabbing.

The Crown has to prove his intention - his intention either being to kill her or his intention being to cause her really serious bodily harm, the prosecutor said.

The trial continues.