A history of violence: How Hartlepool couple’s arguments developed into murder

JAILED: Paul Smart
JAILED: Paul Smart

ANGELA and Paul Smart had known each other for a number of years after living on the Owton Manor estate before they became a couple when she was 21 and he was 20.

They got together after chatting over a game of pool – something Angela excelled at – in the Hour Glass pub.

They were a couple for the next 29 years but never married.

She and Smart had a son, Anthony, 25, and moved into Angela’s late parents’ home in Eddleston Walk which she inherited.

But the trial heard how the relationship became more explosive from the mid 1990s.

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Police were called to the home a dozen times between 1995 and 2006, usually after they had come home late at night from the pub and started arguing.

On one occasion in 1995 Angela was left with bruising and scratches, while on another she bit Smart on the chin.

Neither ever made a formal complaint to police.

Sometimes Smart would go to his parents’ home or his own flat for a few days but they always patched things up.

Angela’s niece Natalie Smeaton told the trial how Angela told her that Smart had once threatened her with a knife in an argument.

And she said Angela confided in her that he stamped her so hard on the head during an older argument that his shoe print was visible.

The jury also heard how Smart took a knife with him to the pub after a dispute with another man and once threatened Angela’s brother Martin with a hammer to get him to leave the couple’s house.