'Battered woman' escapes prison term

A LOWESTOFT woman who was suffering from “battered woman syndrome” when she stabbed her partner to death has escaped a prison sentence.Marie Davis, 40, had suffered regular beatings at the hands of her partner Adrian Burwood and snapped after he taunted her about her drinking problem and her children, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

A LOWESTOFT woman who was suffering from “battered woman syndrome” when she stabbed her partner to death has escaped a prison sentence.

Marie Davis, 40, had suffered regular beatings at the hands of her partner Adrian Burwood and snapped after he taunted her about her drinking problem and her children, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Davis had denied murdering Mr Burwood but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of provocation.

Sentencing her to a three-year community rehabilitation order Judge John Devaux said Davis had suffered a substantial degree of provocation over a long period of time and a significant degree of provocation over a short time.


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“When your partner goaded you about your family and your drinking you went to a kitchen drawer and took out a knife and threatened to kill him,” said the judge.

“When his abuse continued you stabbed him in the chest leaving the knife in him. He took it out and dropped it.”

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He said a doctor who had examined Davis one and a half hours after the incident described her as being mildly intoxicated.

In sentencing Davis he said he had taken into consideration her previous experience of violence and abuse by the defendant and previous partners.

“The impact of provocative behaviour can build up over a period of time and can eventually become intolerable,” said the judge.

He said that although Mr Burwood hadn't got out of his seat and threatened Davis he had bullied her physiologically.

“The balance of power in your relationship with Mr Burwood was in his favour.”

He said Davis had already spent many months in custody and he felt able to pass a three-year community rehabilitation order with a condition that she lives where directed by the probation service.

He said this would mean she would initially reside at a rehabilitation centre and a full supervision plan had been set out for her.

“The court is as satisfied as it can be that it will address your problems and prevent you from behaving in this way again,” he said.

The court heard that Davis stabbed 47-year-old Mr Burwood in their flat in High Street, Lowestoft after he taunted her about her drinking and her children.

Davis got a carving knife and told Mr Burwood she was going to kill him. After he continued shouting at her she stabbed him in the chest.

Mr Burwood pulled the knife out and dropped it on the floor. He then walked a few paces before collapsing.

He was taken to hospital following the attack on March 3, 2005 and died five days later.

Elizabeth Marsh for Davis, said she was a vulnerable woman in a relationship in which she was a victim of verbal and physical abuse.

Police had been called to earlier violent incidents but Davis had not pressed charges.

The court heard that in addition to being an alcoholic Davis had a dependent personality and suffered from depression and an anxiety disorder.

Before the attack on Mr Burwood she was taking medication to stop her drinking.

On the day in question Davis had been drinking for the first time in a while and Mr Burwood wound her up by telling her to ring her mother and tell her that she was drinking again.

He also taunted her by saying her children were “thickos”.

She said that psychiatrists who had examined Davis found she had a history of being in abusive relationships and described her as suffering from “battered woman syndrome”.

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