THE Hartlepool man found guilty of the knife murder of his common-law-wife will serve at least 15 years in prison.
A jury at Teesside Crown Court this morning found Paul Smart, 49, guilty of the murder of his common-law wife Angela Smeaton, 50.
A week-long trial heard how he stabbed Ms Smeaton to death in April.
Her partner of 29 years admitted being responsible for her death, but denied murder on the grounds of loss of self-control.
She had just attended the funeral of her brother Martin and a wake at the Hour Glass pub before returning home to Eddleston Walk.
Ms Smeaton, who ran Ange’s fish and chip shop in Owton Manor Lane, was stabbed and slashed 12 times by Smart with a kitchen knife.
Steel worker Smart, of Eddleston Walk, claimed Ms Smeaton tried to stab him first with the knife.
But the jury found for the prosecution, which said he was lying.
He told the trial he could not remember anything after wrestling the blade out of her hand.
The judge gave Smart the mandatory life sentence for murder, recommending that he serves at least 15 years before being considered for parole.