Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Deborah Napier jailed for 999 call murder in Ryde

Deborah Napier Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Deborah Napier stabbed Jolyon Wray in the back during a drunken row at his flat in Ryde, Isle of Wight, in June.

A woman has been jailed for life with a minimum of 13-and-a-half years for murdering her partner while a 999 operator was listening on the phone.

Deborah Napier stabbed Jolyon Wray, 46, in the back during a drunken row at his flat in Ryde, Isle of Wight, in June.

She admitted manslaughter telling Winchester Crown Court she was in fear of being attacked by Mr Wray, but a jury found her guilty of murder.

The judge said Napier, 53, may never be released due to her age and health.

'Immensely damaged'

The grandmother, of Amazon Close, Basingstoke, was convicted on Thursday by a jury majority decision of 10 to one.

The court heard Napier and Mr Wray had a violent three-year relationship "blighted by alcohol".

The defendant told the jury how 10 minutes before Mr Wray died he woke her up by shouting and swearing and then hit her in the face with a walking boot.

She phoned the police but Mr Wray took the phone away, she said.

Image copyright Luke Wray
Image caption The court heard how Jolyon Wray, pictured with his daughter Violet, was in a violent relationship with Deborah Napier

She then saw him reach down to pick up what she assumed to be another weapon.

Her next clear memory was Mr Wray "gasping and sitting back", she said.

"I knew I had done something really bad," she told the jury. "He didn't move, he wasn't talking."

Police arrived at the flat in East Hill Road to find Mr Wray dead from a single stab wound from a 12.5cm (5 inch) blade, which had penetrated up to the hilt.

Tests later showed the pair were two-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Dingemans said he accepted that Napier had feared further violence and that she had been "immensely damaged" by being sexually abused when she was a child.

He added: "I accept that, given Ms Napier's age and the damage she has done to her health over an adult lifetime of heavy drinking, she may never be released."

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