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Cornwall woman jailed for killing husband with pair of scissors

By CG_News  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

Alan and Sandra Clinch

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A WOMAN who fatally wounded her husband with a pair of dress-making scissors has been jailed for nine years.

After being in retirement for more than 16 hours the jury at Truro Crown Court today acquitted Sandra Clinch of the murder of her fourth husband Alan Clinch, but found her guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

It was alleged that the 49-year-old flown into a rage after her husband did not help tidy their cottage at Darite, near Liskeard.

She had claimed it was a "tragic accident" that a pair of dress making scissors became embedded up to 4in into Mr Clinch's chest, puncturing his heart and a lung.

Mrs Clinch had changed her story several times as the trial unfolded, claiming at first to have thrown the scissors at him and then that he happened to walk into the line of fire.

She had denied murder and Judge Graham Cottle asked the jury before retirement to consider a second charge of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility or lack of control.

Sentencing Clinch, Judge Cottle said: "You have been convicted by the jury of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

"Your principal defence of an accident was nothing more than purely fanciful.

"The jury were satisfied that you were suffering from a personality disorder at the time you killed and it was that personality disorder that affected your ability to exercise self-control.

"It has been a regular feature during your life. The evidence established beyond doubt you have been aggressive, abusive and violent towards previous partners as well as your children.

"You stabbed a previous partner with a carving knife and assaulted your children on a regular basis.

"He (Mr Clinch) was a meek, mild-mannered and gentle man, who simply took what you handed out.

"This time, when your temper exploded, you killed somebody: your husband.

"I have no doubt on that evidence that you intended to hurt him badly and you embedded scissors in his heart and immediately after you regretted your actions."

He added: "The evidence showed you were unable to exercise self control and no form of Hospital Order is recommended or warranted."


"It would be adverse to the interests of justice if I passed a sentence that was grossly out of proportion to that for murder.

"The sentence I will pass upon you is that of nine years' imprisonment."

The trial had earlier heard from witnesses, including her children and a former husband, who told how she once got so angry that she destroyed her own wedding cake and threw objects at him including darts.

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