Tyne & Wear

Tina Casey murder: Heather Emmonds jailed for life

Heather Emmonds
Image caption Heather Emmonds claimed she was not in control of her actions

A woman who murdered her daughter-in-law after being told she could not see her grandson has been handed a life sentence.

Heather Emmonds, 58, from Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, admitted stabbing Tina Casey, 42, but claimed she was not in control of her actions.

However, a jury found her guilty of murder following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Emmonds was told she must spend a minimum of 20 years in prison.

Miss Casey, who had been in a long-term relationship with Emmonds's son Keith, was found dead at her home in Holywell, North Tyneside, in February.

She had suffered more than 15 knife wounds to her head, neck and body.

The jury heard Emmonds drove to Miss Casey's home on 3 February armed with a filleting knife and a change of clothes and gloves.

She had already twice tried to poison the younger woman by crushing sleeping tablets into a chilli and a sweet and sour dish she had prepared, the court heard.

'Moment of madness'

During an argument, in which Miss Casey asked for money to pay off debts, she told Emmonds that she was a "bad grandmother" and threatened to move back to the Isle of Man where she had previously lived.

Later, while Miss Casey was lying on a sofa, Emmonds attacked her from behind.

The jury was told Emmonds was later found collapsed in her Vauxhall Corsa after crashing it at a roundabout in Shiremoor, North Tyneside, having taken an overdose of sleeping tablets.

Police called to the crash found 10 handwritten notes in her car, confessing to the killing.

Image caption Tina Casey was found dead at her home

One note to her grandson said: "Please don't hate me for what I have done. I really thought it was the best for you. I know it won't look like it.

"But Dad is a great dad, so be good for him and gramps. I will always love you from, your loving grandmother."

In another, she wrote to police: "I didn't intend to kill Tina Casey, it was a moment of madness and impulse. The knife and my clothes are in the boot of my car.

"There was no preconceived plan. It just happened. I am ashamed of my actions."

Alistair MacDonald, prosecuting, said: "The defendant could not face the prospect of the removal of her grandson and her inability to see him as she has been able to when he lived in the North East."

Sentencing her, Judge John Milford QC, said: "You drove to her home armed with a filleting knife.

"With Tina Casey lying unsuspecting on the sofa you attacked her from behind driving the knife into her neck."

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