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Man accused of attempted murder 'did not intend to harm wife'

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

Canterbury Crown Court, where the trial is taking place

by Annette Wilson

A father of three accused of trying to kill his estranged wife told a jury he had no idea how she came to be stabbed twice in the chest.

He did not realise at first she had been seriously hurt and said he had got the kitchen knife intending to harm himself.

Gary Peterson, 40, of Sandpiper Court, Fort Hill, Margate, was giving evidence at Canterbury Crown Court where he is on trial for attempting to murder his wife Samantha in November.

The couple married in 1999 but when he developed a drink problem, the marriage ran into difficulties and the couple seperated.

He admitted he had had an affair with a woman called Nicola who he met when at a residential rehabilitation centre.

After leaving the unit, he relapsed back into drinking and would send suicidal texts.

He admitted he had once punched his wife in the mouth but said he was saddened by events and blamed himself because of his drinking and the affair.

Although he had made threats to kill his wife they were just a figure of speech.

He said he had bought his wife a decorative knife because she was interested in witchcraft but he denied ever threatening her with a knife.

He became obsessed about her seeing another man and on November 23 went to her home at Richborough Road, Westgate, where she had agreed to speak with him face to face.

"I was facing an assault charge but had been told she was going to drop the charge so I wanted to discuss it with her," he said. He had drunk six or eight cans of super strength lager during the day.

When Nicola came into the conversation, Samantha said she needed time. He said he was trying to get back with his wife and thought it was what they both wanted. He was worried about her other relationship.

"I snapped and jumped up from the couch to go into the kitchen to get a knife. I intended to harm myself and the knife was in my right hand."

Samantha followed him and was at his side as he turned to confront her. "She was saying something like, 'what are you doing, don't.' I believed she was trying to get the knife from me.

"I was telling her to f**k off and get away from me. I kept asking, 'what's his name, what's his name', trying to get the name of the man she was having an affair with."

He pushed her away in the chest and shoulder. "I just remember lashing out." She fell back and he fell on top of her.

"I cannot say how the stab wounds were caused," he said.

He did not realise at first she had been injured but she he saw the blade sticking out of her and the handle in his hand, and assumed it had snapped.

His thoughts were of shock, horror and disgust. He pulled the blade out and put it on the counter but delayed in calling the emergency services because he had not started to comprehend what had happened.

"I was disgusted with myself."

He admitted telling police after his arrest he hoped she died and that it turned to murder but told the jury it was self destruction.

"When I got the knife my intentions were to harm myself. I hated myself for what happened. It was too much for me to bear.

"I did not intend to kill her that evening or any other time. I did not intend to cause her serious harm and did not deliberatly stab her a second time when she was lying on the floor or say that if I couldn't have her nobody would."

He denied prodding her face with the knife point and admitted he fled the house in panic. "I was not thinking straight," he said.

The trial continues.

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