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'She’s dead because I restrained her' - man accused of Netherton murder

By Richard Guttridge | Netherton | Crime | Published:

A man on trial for alleged murder told a court he ‘never intended to hurt’ his partner but she was killed as he ‘restrained her’.

The scene of the alleged murder in Cinder Bank, Netherton

Rickardo Wilson, giving evidence for the first time at Stafford Crown Court, told jurors he had no reason to kill Claire Harris at her home in Cinder Bank, Netherton, in January.

He told the court she had come to the property for dinner and drinks – as Wilson was still living there – but a row had started with a neighbour over the volume of music.

Wilson claimed Ms Harris could be aggressive when she had a drink and their relationship had been volatile – but on that night they had been having a laugh and joke with one another.

He said: “The atmosphere was brilliant – we were having a laugh and a joke. I asked if she wanted a drink, she said yes so I went to the shop. I brought her four Carling and brought myself four cans of beer.

“We were talking, just sitting down, everything was normal. Claire wanted to put some music on.

"The music was on, we were having a dance about, having a laugh – all of a sudden there was a knock at the door.

Raised voices

“She answered the door, I heard her shouting, raised voices and swearing at whoever was at the door.

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"She was swearing and she was loud - she was shouting at him and being aggressive. He was backing off. I said to her you’ve said what you needed to say get back into the house.”

Wilson told the court on Tuesday their neighbour was walking away, but Ms Harris kept following him.

He said he ended up in a ‘big struggle’ with his partner to get her back inside, which he said took about 10 minutes.

“Things went back to normal, as time ticked on I turned the music down. She turned it straight back up and said ‘I’m not bowing down to them’,” Wilson said.

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“It was turned up and down about four times.”

Punch

He said she punched him on the left side of the face and grabbed him by the ears.

Wilson said he pushed her off and she backed away.

He added Ms Harris then walked off towards the knife block, got a knife and came walking back towards him.

He told the court he grabbed the sleeve of the hand holding the knife and had another hand around her neck to ‘secure her’.

Wilson added he then lost his balance and realised he was going to fall. After they fell down together, he moved himself to one side and told the court he could see her face and her eyes were closed, so he let go of her.

He said: “I thought oh God she’s fainted.

“I did not have any reason to think she was hurt, it never occurred to me, it was that brief it never entered my head.

Panic

“I waited about 10 minutes. I lifted up her top and expected to see her belly moving. I didn’t see it moving. I couldn’t feel her breathing and I went into panic. My whole life collapsed at that second.

“I was screaming and crying. I just sat with her – stroking her face, saying I was sorry, I was sat talking to her.

"I never intended to hurt her, it never occurred to me, never. For what reason would I have to kill her, what for?

“I had my arm around her as I was trying to get the knife off her, I made sure she was secure - my only aim was to get the knife, there was no other aim.”

He told the court he decided he was going to commit suicide as ‘she was my girl, she’s dead, I was going to join her’ - and when her son arrived the following morning and found his mother’s body, he just let him punch and hit him.

Temper

Under cross examination, when asked how he killed Ms Harris, Wilson said: “By restraining her.”

He added: “I can control my temper. I can still control my temper when I have had a drink.

“I don’t think Claire was frightened of me. Of course she still loved me, love is for always, you can’t unlove someone."

“There was no one else to cause those injuries, I did not cause them. I told you about the struggle outside, I never touched her, I never hit her. I can’t be restraining her and hitting her at the same time. I cannot tell you how those injuries happened, I have no idea whatsoever.

“I never strangled her to death in anger. She’s dead because I restrained her.

“I took her by the throat to control her. I had my arm around her to control her. All my intention was was to get the knife off her.”

Wilson pleads not guilty to murder and manslaughter. The case continues.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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