KILLER Graham Gibson had a history of domestic violence against previous partners before stabbing Christine Henderson to death in a frenzied attack.
It was a secret that Gibson – cleared by a jury of murder but convicted of manslaughter – had hidden when he began a web romance with unsuspecting Christine.
After she ended their 18-month relationship and fled the home they shared together in Hartlepool he tried for a reconciliation, but flipped and viciously stabbed her 12 times with a foot-long kitchen knife.
He then calmly left her in a pool of blood before making a 999 call to tell police he had stabbed her to death.
He was sensationally cleared of her murder by a jury at Teesside Crown Court yesterday, but convicted of manslaughter after the court heard how he had “lost control”.
Details of Gibson’s past emerged after a dramatic three-week trial came to an end yesterday.
The 47-year-old repeatedly stabbed Christine, 50, in the head, neck and chest a week after she ended an 18-month relationship which had started with a meeting on the internet.
She was left to die in her friend’s home while Gibson callously rifled through her handbag for cash and waited 45 minutes before dialling 999.
In that time he was seen by two witnesses which was captured on CCTV – “acting normal and joking as if nothing had happened”.
In the chilling phone call to police he told the operator: “I’ve stabbed my girlfriend and she’s dead.”
Gibson claimed he “lost control” after being provoked with taunts about a previous partner, and the jury accepted his account.
Police spoke to every woman Gibson had been in a relationship with during their investigation into the fatal stabbing.
He has previous convictions for offences of violence against previous partners – but nothing as serious as the frenzied stabbing which killed Christine.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Donaghy, of Cleveland Police, said: “We have spoken to every person Graham Gibson has been in a relationship with to establish how he was and if there was a history of domestic violence.
“Clearly, some of the relationships were a long time ago and people have moved on, but we have heard from people who have been in a relationship and were subjected to domestic violence at his hands.”
One of Gibson’s former partners, Caroline Wardell, with whom she had three children, told the trial Gibson twice threw her to the ground and punched her on the nose and to the head during their relationship.
Christine had reported Gibson to the police after an incident at their home in Kent Avenue, Hartlepool, last December.
Gibson pinned her against a sofa and stood on her mobile phone before fleeing.
Christine’s daughter Nicole, 19, told the jury Gibson threw her across the back yard when she challenged him, but he denied it.
Christine went to the police and Gibson was charged with two counts of common assault and one of criminal damage.
But she dropped the charges because she wanted to give the relationship another chance.
Det Chf Insp Donaghy added: “His personality is that of an intimidating, controlling individual in a domestic abuse relationship.
“He is a large man and has a propensity for using violence in a row.”
Jobless Gibson grew up in Middlesbrough and spent some time living in Surrey before moving back to the North-East in 2009.
He had lived in Hartlepool with his victim for around a year.
He told the trial he suffered from depression for around 20 years, and was on anti-depressant medication.
He will be sentenced once reports have been prepared by probation officials.