Kent

Woman sentenced to life for Chartham sister's murder

Phoebe Barton and Karen Barton
Image caption Phoebe Barton (left) lived with her sister in Chartham in the house where they grew up

A Kent woman who stabbed her sister to death in a "frenzied attack" has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Phoebe Barton, 50, of Highland Road, Chartham, was convicted of the murder of Karen Barton, 51, following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

The body of her sister, who was stabbed 27 times, was found by dog walkers in a field near Canterbury, on 9 May.

Barton, who had admitted manslaughter but denied murder, was told she would serve a minimum of 13 years in prison.

'Left to die'

Sentencing her, Judge Jeremy Carey said: "I have no doubt that at the time you stabbed Karen Barton, you intended in those few seconds to kill her."

Describing the attack as "ferocious", he added: "Some of the 27 stab wounds went right into her bone and through her body.

"You threw the knife away and left her to die, a death which mercifully came very quickly due to the severity of the wounds.

"Karen Barton had done absolutely nothing to provoke this attack by you. In fact she had been a devoted sister to you but you never appreciated it."

'Not deliberate'

During her trial, jurors were told how Barton, who lived with her sister, began drinking and behaving erratically after her daughter Rachel died in a car crash in 2008.

The court was told the pair were spotted going for a walk in the village after buying cans of strong lager at an off-licence.

During police questioning, she admitted she had killed her sister after she told her that she should be sorting her life out and getting over Rachel's death.

She said she had grabbed a knife from her handbag and stabbed her.

When giving her own evidence during the trial, Barton said the attack "wasn't deliberate".

"I don't know why I hurt my sister. I didn't want to hurt her," she told jurors.

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