Woman jailed for murdering boyfriend in knife attack

A WOMAN was jailed for life today after murdering her boyfriend in a knife attack at his Edinburgh home when they returned home from her father's funeral.

Wendy Graham told a friend in a text message: "I hate him. I have got to get him out of my life for once and for all."

Graham, 42, repeatedly stabbed Mark Thomson in the fatal assault leaving him to bleed to death after suffering 10 wounds.

She denied murdering Mr Thomson, 42, at his home at Robert Burns Drive, The Inch, on June 4 this year.

But a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh took less than an hour to unanimously convict her of the murder after a six-day trial.

Temporary judge John Beckett QC told Graham that she had taken the life of a man who had sought to support her and been kind to her, at least at times.

He added: "His family are left to deal with his loss."

The judge said: "I regard it as a significant feature of this tragic killing that it occurred on the day of your father's funeral when you were understandably in an emotional state."

But he added that a report prepared on Graham had also noted her "extensive use of substances."

"The evidence suggests you spent at least some time cleaning up before seeking help and I regard that as an aggravating feature," he said.

The judge told her: "You will serve at least 11 years before you can be considered for release on parole."

Mr Beckett said any decision to free Graham in future would be taken by the parole board who would have regard to the safety of the public.

The court heard that Graham had sent the "hate" text message to a friend, Laura Burns, at least an hour prior to police and paramedics arriving at the flat she shared with her victim. But Ms Burns did not read it until the following morning.

Before then blood-stained Graham had arrived at a neighbour's flat and announced: "I have killed Mark."

The victim was found lying in the hallway, but attempts to revive him by ambulance staff proved unsuccessful.

Jurors were shown a video of Graham later being interviewed by detectives during which she screamed uncontrollably after being told Mr Thomson had succumbed to his injuries.

The couple had earlier been at the funeral of Graham's father. She told officers that her victim had become aggressive verbally after drinking vodka.

She claimed he disconnected the house phone and wrenched a mobile from her hand when she wanted to call police.

Graham said she tried to leave the house, but he stood in front of her blocking her path.

She claimed she went to the kitchen and got a knife, allegedly to threaten him, but they got into a scuffle.

Graham said: "It wasn't until he fell to the ground that I realised how seriously I had hurt him."

But pathologists found that Mr Thomson had suffered a total of 10 stab wounds, mostly to his arms and legs, but also to his face and torso.

The fatal injury was a cut to his thigh which severed a main artery and led to major blood loss.

Samples taken from Graham revealed she had traces of the heroin substitute methadone, diazepam and dihydrocodeine.

The court heard that she had a long history of problems, including earlier abusive relationships, and has scars on her arms from previous self-harming.

After she was taken into custody she was seen by a doctor, but made a dash for a methadone dispenser and tried to smash the glass bottle off a wall to turn it on herself, but was restrained.

Psychiatrists disagreed over her exact condition, but the Crown maintained any difficulties were as a result of previous drink and drug abuse.

Graham also wrote letters following her remand in Cornton Vale women's prison, at Stirling, claiming she did not mean to kill her victim. In one she asked where Mr Thomson was to be buried "so when I get out I can go and say sorry".