DAVID EDWARDS MURDER TRIAL: Jury told husband had been victim of domestic abuse
A newlywed solicitor, allegedly murdered by his wife, was a victim of previous domestic abuse, a court has heard.
Mum-of-two Sharon Edwards, 42, has denied fatally stabbing husband David Edwards, 51, in the heart, weeks after their summer wedding in Las Vegas.
He was found dead in his bed at their home in Parkers Wood Close, Chorley, by neighbours on August 23 last year, after she ran to a neighbour’s house, screaming that he was not breathing.
Manchester Crown Court heard that dad-of-one Mr Edwards, a well-known solicitor, had confided in colleagues that he was a victim of domestic abuse.
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Anne Whyte QC, prosecuting, said: “By the time paramedics and police arrived at the matrimonial home, David Edwards was already dead, having suffered a fatal wound to his chest, along with less serious injuries.
“It had been a relatively brief relationship but even by the time of their wedding, it was a relationship which caused David’s friends and colleagues to be very concerned for his welfare.
“Over the next few days, you will hear about a decline in him after he started seeing Sharon Manser, as she was called then – a decline in his appearance, his professionalism, in his self-respect.
“They noticed his increasing recourse to alcohol.
“More importantly they were troubled by the various visible injuries which he carried and some of which the Crown say were inflicted by Sharon Edwards.
“Despite the turbulence that was to characterise their relationship, he was plainly besotted with her and appears to have thought she was the one for him.
“We believe it would be fair to say that both Sharon Edwards and David drank too much.”
The court was told she made an “overbearing nuisance” of herself in his work environment.
Miss Whyte said: “In July he was notified he would be made redundant and this seems to have been the trigger for more tension and an increasingly belligerent and disrespectful attitude towards him.”
The court heard he admitted to several people he had been injured with a knife, bitten, hit with a coffee table and ashtray and scratched by Sharon Edwards.
As time went on, he would turn up at court dishevelled and his attendance at work dwindled.
Jurors were told in July he was given two months’ redundancy notice but was asked not to come back into work, due to her conduct on the telephone towards his colleagues.
A message was found on his dictaphone after his death in which she had rang him at work and they had discussed how to “explain” an injury she had caused as a colleague had not believed his previous explanation.
The court heard the day before he died, after returning from the airport following a trip to Majorca, the couple went to the Duke of York pub in Chorley.
He was wearing bloodstained clothes, having already suffered some knife injuries.
At 2am a police officer wearing a body camera stopped after spotting Sharon Edwards screaming at him in the street and drove them home.
At 8pm the following day Sharon Edwards had returned from a neighbour’s home - but ran back five minutes later hysterically screaming that David was not breathing. Neighbours found him dead on his bed.
The court heard Edwards later told police he had waved a knife at her, that she had taken the knife off him and he had “walked into it”.
She said he begged her not to call an ambulance and they had both cleaned up the blood.
She claimed they then engaged in “mutual and affectionate sex” and his wound had stopped bleeding, and afterwards she had gone downstairs and fallen asleep.
She told officers he had never been violent but could be verbally abusive, especially when drunk.
A post mortem examination found wounds indicating “regular assaults” including stab wounds to his chest and legs, bruises, abrasions, scalp wounds, extensive blunt blows to his head, and several old and recent rib fractures.
A 8cm wound to his chest killed him – but there was evidence he had not died immediately and survived at least four hours.
Miss Whyte said: “We say she had got away with inflicting harm, safe in knowledge that although other people might suspect, he would never report her to the police or inflict violence back.”
Giving evidence, David’s father Anthony Edwards said he drove the couple into the jewellery quarter in Birmingham for their wedding rings and there was an argument between them about a season ticket for Chorley FC.
He said: “It ended by me telling them to ‘shut up.’ I and my wife tried to dissuade him from the marriage.”
David’s ex-partner of seven years, Maureen Taylor, said he was never violent to her.
The former off-licence owner said Sharon Edwards, who had previously been a customer, had rang and texted her accusing her of going into David’s house with a key and leaving her photos all over kitchen.
Another ex, Rosina McCarthy, a court worker, told jurors: “He started to come in to court with black eyes and scratches.
“He lost weight, his clothes were shabby, he just didn’t seem to be himself.”
She added on one occasion he said Sharon had picked up a glass coffee table and hit him over the head with it. She had later rang the woman at work after she had commented on a Facebook picture.
The court was told Mr Edwards worked as a criminal solicitor in Chorley and had previously been a partner in a local firm until it was taken over.