South West Wales

Steven Williams guilty of murdering Joanna Hall

Media captionWilliams, of Tenby, who denied murder, claimed a "mad man" must have broken in while he was out briefly.

A chef who stabbed his girlfriend 40 times and waited five hours before calling 999 has been found guilty of murder at Swansea Crown Court.

Steven Williams, 31, said "will you just die?" after attacking Joanna Hall at her flat in Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

Williams, of Tenby, who denied murder, claimed a "mad man" must have broken in while he was out briefly.

But Ms Hall, 35, who had just started seeing him, was able to describe the attack from her hospital bed.

She died three weeks after the stabbing.

The jury reached a 10-2 majority verdict on Thursday after deliberating for about eight-and-a-quarter hours from Wednesday afternoon. Williams did not react to the verdict.

Sentencing was adjourned until Friday.

Outside court, a statement read on behalf of Ms Hall's family said they were "relieved and delighted" at the guilty verdict and described Williams as an "evil monster".

It added: "Steven Williams took Joanna from us in a particularly cruel and vicious way.

Media captionOutside court, friend Tony Oram read a statement on behalf of Joanna Hall's family

"Unfortunately for Steven Williams, she survived her injuries for long enough to tell us and the police what had happened and that Steven Williams was responsible.

"Nothing will bring Joanna back or change the heinous things that he did to her and now unfortunately we have to live with that for the rest of our lives."

Williams, an alcoholic, claimed throughout his trial that an unknown knifeman must have broken into the property in the morning while he briefly went to the shops to buy whisky.

But Ms Hall was awake when the air ambulance arrived and was able to say what had happened, naming her attacker.

The court heard Ms Hall was repeatedly slashed and stabbed all over her body, with some of the injuries causing internal damage.

Williams denied that he had been in a relationship with Ms Hall but she revealed it to her sister, Georgina Marwick, in hospital.

Scared

When asked who had stabbed her, she replied: "Someone I know. I've been seeing him and his name is Steven Williams."

Mrs Marwick had told the court: "He got a knife and he stabbed her. Jo didn't want to tell the police because she was scared.

"She said that he'd threatened if she told anyone, he'd come and finish her off or get someone else to do it.

"She said she had asked him [Steven Williams] to phone for help, but he refused saying 'you have a choice, take your life, or I'll take it for you'."

Media captionJoanna Hall identified Williams as her killer

The court had heard how Mr Williams had said that he "didn't want to have to do this, but I'm going to have to kill you now. I'm not going back to prison".

Mrs Marwick said her sister had told her that Williams had sat with her all night, just smoking cigarettes.

"She remembers struggling to take a deep breath. He said 'will you just die?'" she said.

Ms Hall told her sister: "The knife was silver. EastEnders was on TV. I begged him to call an ambulance. He stayed all night. I was in so much pain."

Found her injured

Williams claimed in his defence he went to Ms Hall's flat very early on 16 March, drinking whisky on the way, because he thought she had been self-harming.

At about 07:30 GMT he went to Sainsbury's and left Ms Hall stroking her pet dog on the sofa, the court was told.

When he returned a short time later, he found her injured, he claimed.

But jurors heard from a neighbour that there was a noisy argument in Ms Hall's flat from around 01:30 GMT.

Williams claimed the argument lasted for up to 10 minutes and was sparked when Ms Hall tried to kiss him - but had not mentioned it until giving evidence as he "did not think that it was relevant".

Deborah Rogers, of Crown Prosecution Service Wales, said: "It is hard to imagine what motivates an individual to commit such a vicious and callous act.

"Only Steven Williams could answer that, but so far he has refused to acknowledge his responsibility for this terrible incident."

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