A woman who claimed she killed her lodger in self-defence has today (Thursday 1 December) been found guilty of his murder.
Dawn Lewis, 54, told jurors at Bristol Crown Court her tenant Glenn Richards, 61, stabbed her in the leg during an argument at her Glastonbury home on 18 April.
She said he fell down the stairs after she kicked back during the incident, allowing her to pick up the knife and use it against him to prevent him from attacking her further.
However, detectives were suspicious of her account after the doctor who treated her leg wounds suggested they appeared to be self-inflicted.
An associate of Lewis’ independently then informed officers she’d told him she wanted Mr Richards to move out of her house and described a video call with her just hours before the incident in which she’d showed him a knife.
He described how, during the video call, Lewis spoke of stabbing Mr Richards in his bedroom before stabbing herself so she could claim self-defence.
Detectives also uncovered aggressive voicemails left by Lewis and text messages between the pair that cast doubt on her version of events.
After hearing all the evidence during a trial lasting three weeks, Jurors rejected Lewis’ account and concluded she’d in fact planned to murder Mr Richards.
Following the verdict, Lewis was remanded into custody pending a hearing tomorrow (Friday 2 December) when she will be sentenced.
Detective Inspector Neil Meade, the senior investigating officer, said: “Dawn Lewis claimed she feared Glenn Richards and was worried what he’d to do her as his mental health was deteriorating.
“After deciding she no longer wanted him to lodge with her, she concocted a plan she thought would allow her to get away with his murder.
“She perhaps thought the witness who she revealed her plan to wouldn’t tell us of their conversation out of loyalty, but this belief was misguided.
“The witnesses’ evidence, along with that of the doctor who treated Lewis at hospital, and the picture the text messages between her and Mr Richards painted of their relationship, was compelling.
“The jury had no choice in my mind but to reject Lewis’ lies and find her guilty of murder.”
DI Meade added: “Mr Richards had been estranged from his sons for a number of years but had recently begun to reconnect.
“They were due to meet up in the near future but Lewis’ actions robbed them of this opportunity.
“Specially trained family liaison officers have kept them informed throughout and our thoughts continue to be with them.”