Woman stabbed ‘just after mourners left wake’

STABBED: Angela Smeaton
STABBED: Angela Smeaton

A MAN stabbed his partner to death with a 7.5in knife just minutes after funeral mourners left the couple’s house, a court heard.

Steel worker Paul Smart, who is standing trial for the murder of his common law wife Angela Smeaton, 50, told police he attacked her with a kitchen knife on the day of her brother’s funeral.

Teesside Crown Court heard the attack happened shortly after mourners left the couple’s home in Eddleston Walk, Hartlepool.

There was a domestic argument when 49-year-old Smart claims Ms Smeaton tried to attack him with a kitchen knife.

He told police he grabbed it off her and turned the blade on her.

Within seconds she was lying on the floor bleeding to death, the jury heard.

Smart’s account to cops about the killing was read out in court yesterday.

The interviewing officer asked Smart: “Are you responsible for the death of Angela Smeaton?”

Smart replied: “I am, yes.”

Ms Smeaton was killed shortly after the wake for her brother Martin Smeaton late on Monday, April 14.

In his account to police Smart said five minutes after funeral guests left there was a “carry on” involving Ms Smeaton’s son Anthony and another family member which ended in them both leaving.

He said his Ms Smeaton started swearing at him for not intervening in the row before trying to attack him with the knife.

Smart told police: “The knife was coming towards me, I just stopped, took it out her hand and in a sharp shock sort of thing stabbed her in the neck three times.

“Just seconds and it was over. She collapsed on her knees then I started to see a pool of blood appear.”

Smart was also asked about comments he made when he was arrested and taken in to custody.

He is said to have told a police nurse: “I have lost the best thing I ever had. The best part of me.”

Smart said he vaguely remembered saying that.

The trial also heard details of 15 stab and slash injuries to Ms Smeaton’s face, head and arms.

Smart told police the weapon was a 7.5 inch long kitchen knife that was found near Ms Smeaton’s body in the dining room.

It was shown to the jury.

Pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton said the fatal injury was a stab wound just over an inch to her upper left arm which severed a major artery and cut to the bone.

“This would have led to heavy, catastrophic blood loss,” said the pathologist.

She added: “This would require a moderate to severe degree of force.”

Tim Roberts QC, prosecuting, asked how fatal injury might have happened.

Dr Bolton said: “Most likely Mrs Smeaton was trying to protect her head and brought her arms up.”

She agreed with a suggestion by Toby Hedworth, defending, that Ms Smeaton would probably have survived her injuries if it was not for the severed artery in the arm.

Smart, of Eddleston Walk, denies murder.

The trial continues.