A STROUD woman wept with relief on Friday as a jury cleared her of stabbing her partner in the stomach, causing a life threatening injury.
Lydia Beavis, 50, of Upper Leazes, Stroud, had told the Gloucester Crown Court jury her partner Karl Merry, 49, 'stumbled' forward onto the knife while verbally abusing her at their home.
After a retirement of just over four hours the jury of seven women and five men acquitted Mrs Beavis of wounding him with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
She was also found not guilty of the less serious alternative charge of unlawful wounding.
As she walked out of the dock Mrs Beavis was in tears and just before leaving the courtroom she turned and said 'thank you."
At the start of the three day trial the prosecution said Mr Merry, a karate and kickboxing black belt, almost died from his abdominal injury but after four operations had made an amazingly good recovery.
The court was told that Mr Merry, a dad of two, and Mrs Beavis were at the time of the incident on April 9, last year making plans for their wedding in Crete in September.
In evidence Mr Merry said he could remember nothing of what happened that afternoon and evening and was unable to describe how he was wounded.
But the prosecution said it must have been a deliberate knifing which Mr Merry was not expecting because otherwise he would have been able to use his martial arts skills to deflect any attack.
The prosecution also said Mrs Beavis' claims that Mr Merry had been haranguing and verbally bullying her for hours before the incident could not have been true because neighbours heard no sound of a row.
Mrs Beavis told the jury she had reached the end of her tether with him that day because of his bullying manner and accusations that she was having sex with other men.
She said she told him their wedding was off and he then start advancing towards her.
She demonstrated how she held the knife vertically in front of her chest 'as a deterrent' but he then stumbled forward onto it.
She pulled the knife back out and Mr Merry went to the sofa bleeding heavily, she said.
She called 999 as he became unconscious and she performed the kiss of life with a paramedic instructing her on the phone, she added.
"I will accept that I was holding the knife. I cannot accept that I deliberately forced that knife into him, that I recklessly plunged that knife into him. I would never have done that," she insisted.
After she was cleared Judge William Hart granted her a defendant's costs order.