A Barclays bank executive “snapped” and beat his cancer-stricken wife to death with a crowbar—striking her more than 30 times—after she called him “useless” and began to insult the couple’s daughter, his attorney says.
David Pomphret, 51, doesn’t deny he killed his wife, but claims the act was manslaughter from a “loss of self-control” after suffering years of abuse from his 49-year-old wife, Ann Marie Pomphret, according to the BBC.
Prosecutors contend, however, that the violent act was murder.
“It may be a loss of temper, but not a loss of control,” prosecutors told the Liverpool Crown Court.
As the trial began, defense attorney Richard Pratt told jurors his client had always shown “extraordinary powers of self-restraint” in his interactions with his wife, who had mental health issues and could be “vocal and sometimes violent.”
But on the evening of Nov. 2, 2018, the couple had gone out to stables they owned near their home in Warrington, Cheshire, when an argument broke out between the pair, according to the Manchester Evening News.
According to the defense, Ann Marie began to “rant and rave” and called her husband “useless.” Then she turned her focus to the couple’s daughter, calling her a “fat slag,” an English term similar to slut. She also claimed her daughter was “out to get sex,” the defense said, adding that jurors would later hear from the couple's daughter, who called her dad her "rock."
"What happened was this is a case where a quiet man finally snapped and unhappily he was a quiet man with a tool in his hand,” Pratt said, according to the BBC. “It was a crowbar. It led to him repeatedly striking his wife over the head with a crowbar.”
David Pomphret then called emergency services for help, telling the dispatcher he had found his wife lying in a pool of blood at the stables.
“There is brain and blood everywhere, and it looks like she has had her head beaten in,” he said, according to The Telegraph.
When the operator suggested he try to perform CPR several times, David insisted she was dead and even asked at one point “Are you joking?”
An autopsy would later determine Ann Marie died of blunt force trauma to the head. Doctors believe she had suffered at least 30 blows to her head with the crowbar. She also had defensive wounds on her hands suggesting she'd tried to fend off the attack.
David was arrested the following day.
At the time of her death, Ann Marie had been undergoing treatment for cancer. She had also been diagnosed with multiple mental health issues, including being on the autism spectrum, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Prosecutor Gordon Cole told the jury that David had provided a “totally lying account” of what had happened after the attack and argued the death was murder, not manslaughter.
The trial is expected to continue Tuesday.
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