Murder accused sobs in dock

Christopher Foley
Christopher Foley

A MAN accused of murdering his partner broke down in the dock as he described the fateful day she died - during a row about her pet lobster.

Christopher Foley repeatedly sobbed while giving evidence at his trial in Liverpool, where he is accused of stabbing 20-year-old Joanne Harrison to death with a pair of scissors at their home in Cameron Place, Worsley Hall, in February.

Joanne Harrison

Joanne Harrison

But Foley, who denies murder and a lesser alternative charge of manslaughter told the jury that she had tripped and fallen on the scissors and her death had been a tragic accident.

The court has heard a harrowing 999 call from Foley in which his partner could be heard with increasing laboured breathing and forecasting her death while their baby son was crying desperately in the background. She was rushed to hospital but was declared later the same day.

Questioned by his QC Ben Myers, Foley admitted to the court that there had been arguments and minor violence between them in the past but said: “When were weren’t arguing we were good together.”

He agreed that a couple of days before the tragedy he had punched her causing a black eye during a row in which she had first punched him.

I grabbed a sock and put it on it and put pressure on. I moved her and put my arm around her shoulders. I was cuddling her while dialling 999

Christopher Foley

Afterwards she apologised, “I said I’m the one who should apologise,” said Foley.

“We knew what hurt each other the most because we were close and sort of played on it and point scored and hurt each other. I should never have laid hands on her, I’m a man at the end of the day,” he said.

Asked about the fatal day he explained that the fish tank in which Joanne kept her lobster, Larry, began leaking and an argument started after his attempts to seal the crack with tape failed.

Joanne stormed upstairs with his phone and as their son kept crawling to the leaking tank he took him upstairs. When she asked if he had hit their son he became upset and “a little angry” as he would never lay a hand on him, he said.

She had hidden his tobacco and “scrunched” up his Poundland glasses and he retaliated by pretending he was going to flush her lobster down the toilet and he heard her on the phone telling her mum. “It was childish games,” he said.

He also heard her saying she was going to ask his mum to take him away and when he came downstairs she was on the phone to her. He said that after the call Joanne was calling him names and she said he was a waste of space and she wanted him out of the house.

He said that was nothing unusual and after their rows they would hug and kiss.

He saw she was holding a long screw or bolt in her left hand and a pair of scissors in her right hand by her side. “I pushed the screw down and said you are not going to do anything with it put them down.”

He decided to let her just calm down and carry on with the fish tank repairs and then heard their son wailing upstairs and he said he would go to him.

Foley broke down as he told how he then saw her stumble forward towards the radiator over their son’s ball pit and a toy while he was behind her. “I couldn’t get to her in time.

“She went all floppy. I saw one squirt (of blood). I grabbed a sock and put it on it and put pressure on. I moved her and put my arm around her shoulders. I was cuddling her while dialling 999.”

Mr Myers asked,, “Are you telling the truth?” “Yes,” he replied. “How easy is it to recall the details?” asked Mr Myers. “I’ll never forget it. It was the worst day of my life,” said Foley.

He continued, “I was scared, I didn’t want to lose her, I tried to save her.”

Cross-examined by Chris Tehrani, QC, prosecuting, Foley denied lying to police when questioned but said “I hid things” from them.

He refuted a suggestion that he had had enough of his partner and thought he would teach her a lesson. He denied that she had been unhappy at the end of 2014 and said she told him he made her happy.

The jury of five women and seven men has heard that the paramedic first on the scene saw Foley holding the blood stained scissors. Asked about this he said, “I wasn’t.”

The case continues