Killer’s history of violence

STABBED: Angela Smeaton
STABBED: Angela Smeaton

A MAN on trial for the murder of his common-law wife previously stamped on her head and threatened her with a knife, a court heard.

Paul Smart, 49, is standing trial at Teesside Crown Court for the murder of his partner of 29 years Angela Smeaton, 50, just hours after the couple attended her brother’s funeral.

Police had been called to their home 12 times in just 11 years for domestic violence incidents.

Her niece Natalie Smeaton yesterday told the jury of two alleged incidents of violence by Smart towards her aunt.

Natalie said Ms Smeaton told her about the incidents about three years ago when she was crying on her aunt’s shoulder about her own relationship.

She said Ms Smeaton told her l Turn to Page 5

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of one occasion when Smart pinned her up against a bedroom wall and pulled a knife out of a wardrobe which he held against her neck.

Describing another incident related to her by the victim, Natalie said: “There was a time quite a long time ago when Paul stamped on her forehead.

“He left the indentations of his shoe on her forehead.”

Under cross examination Natalie agreed Ms Smeaton and Smart’s past difficulties had mainly been verbal rather than physical.

The court heard how police had been called to domestic incidents at the couple’s home in Eddleston Walk, Hartlepool, 12 times between 1995 and 2006.

They related mainly to alcohol-fuelled arguments between the couple when neither made an formal complaint to police.

On one occasion in 1995 Smart was arrested for assault but Ms Smeaton did not take it any further.

On another in 2006 she claimed he had tried to strangle her but she later said they had just argued.

The jury heard how mourners attended a wake at the Hour Glass pub in Owton Manor for the funeral of Martin Smart on Monday, August 14.

Some later went back to Ms Smeaton’s and Smart’s home in Eddleston Walk.

Both had been drinking, the court heard.

Kelly Brogden, a barmaid at the pub and friend of Ms Smeaton, told how she heard a loud and piercing shriek come from the direction of the couple’s house at around 1am.

“I didn’t think that much of it, I just thought it was a couple having a domestic,” she said in a statement.

“Approximately five minutes later I heard the sound of police sirens in the distance.”

Ms Brodgen described Ms Smeaton as “a lovely woman with a heart of gold”.

Smart admits killing Ms Smeaton, 50, after stabbing her several times on Tuesday, April 15.

But he denies murder and claims he lost his self control.

The trial also heard from nurse Linda Ashworth who treated a wound to Smart’s hand after he was taken into police custody.

While she treated him she said Smart claimed Ms Smeaton had tried to stab him first because of an argument over their son.

The trial continues.