Jack Delany murder trial: Woman ‘fatally stabbed young Gloucester dad then laughed and drank wine’
The woman accused of murdering young Gloucester dad Jack Delany allegedly stabbed him with an eight-inch blade and laughed.
Dee Lawrence, 32, is alleged to have knifed her boyfriend Mr Delany, 25, in her flat in Columbia Close, Kingsholm, on the night of April 15.
Her trial started today at Bristol Crown Court and prosecutor Christopher Quinlan QC made his opening statement.
The jury heard evidence Lawrence started drinking from a bottle of wine and laughing after stabbing Mr Delany in the stomach.
Another man who was in the flat said she had a “horrible look on her face” when she lunged at her boyfriend, Mr Quinlan told the court.
The prosecutor said Lawrence initially told police Mr Delany might have been attacked by a man called Tiger or Snoop.
But she later changed her statement to say she stabbed Mr Delany out of self-defence.
The prosecutor’s summary
Mr Quinlan gave the following summary of the case:
“Shortly before 11pm on April 15, an act of violence by this defendant ended a man’s life.
“The victim was Jack Delany, aged 25, who was stabbed once to the abdomen by his then partner, Dee Lawrence.
“The wound was sufficiently deep to penetrate and damage Mr Delany’s aorta, the main artery in the body.
“He lost a lot of blood. That proved catastrophic and he later died.
“Her reaction? She made a 999 call and, we say, calmly lied to the emergency services, and then to the police in interview as a murder suspect.
“She blamed an intruder. She ventured to the police the names of two possible suspects.
“These lies were deliberate. She repeated them over several days.”
Lawrence showed no emotion during proceedings, wearing a black suit jacket and trousers.
The defendant, who has long brown hair, wore her jacket over a purple top.
Mr Quinlan said both Lawrence and Mr Delany had spent time homeless.
“He spent a good deal of time, it seems, at her flat,” he added.
“When interviewed by police, she said she had known him for about two years.
“She lived in a small flat in Columbia Close. It was in the top floor of a three-storey block.”
Mr Delany was convicted of assaulting Lawrence three times in 2017, before a court imposed an order restraining him from contacting her.
“Often they spent time together in consensual breach of that order,” the prosecutor continued.
“Neighbours often heard the sounds of shouting, arguing, fighting from Miss Lawrence’s flat.
“There were lots of visitors at night, mainly men and not all of them friendly.”
Mr Quinlan said Lawrence and Mr Delany lived “chaotic” lives and police often attended her flat.
The day of the stabbing
Neighbour Sally Osborne told police she heard banging and a female screaming on the morning of April 15.
When officers attended at around 11.10am, Lawrence said Mr Delany had not been there.
She claimed to have had an argument on the phone with a woman called Rachel Green.
“I am p***** off because she has been slagging me off,” Lawrence told police.
At around the same time, neighbour Alison Hughes saw a man flee Lawrence’s home by jumping from the window onto another flat’s rood.
Mr Quinlan ventured to the jury that this man was Mr Delany.
He said Mr Delany later returned to the flat and spent much of the day drinking with Lawrence, as well as two friends, Craig Phillips and Daniel Croft.
Miss Osborne said heard “lots of banging and tumbling” noises coming from Lawrence’s home at about 10.40am.
“It may have been people rolling on the ground,” she told police.
She claims a crying, drunk-sounding man screamed: “Please, please somebody help.”
A woman then said “just give him more”, according to Miss Osborne.
In her statement, the neighbour said: “There was then another noise, as if something had been thrown across the room.
“A woman shouted, ‘Just get rid of it.’ She screamed and then it was strangely quiet.”
‘She stabbed him in the stomach’
Mr Phillips said he had spent the day drinking cider, sherry and wine.
In his statement, Mr Phillips said: “Jack was bare-chested.
“Dee picked up a blade about eight or nine inches long. She stabbed him in the stomach.
“She walked to the other side of the room and started drinking a bottle of wine and laughing.”
Mr Phillips claimed Lawrence had driven a black-handled filleting knife “in to the hilt”.
“When it came out there was a spray and a splash of blood like a cork coming out of the bottle,” he continued.
He said Mr Delany shouted: “She has f****** stabbed me.”
Mr Phillips claims he told Lawrence: “For f***’s sake, ring an ambulance.”
And her reply, according to Mr Phillips, was that it was “only a flesh wound”.
She eventually called an ambulance and threw the filleting knife out of the window, Mr Phillips said.
Mr Quinlan told the court the only knife found by police was a “rusty old blade without a handle”.
Mr Phillips did not suggest a reason for Lawrence wishing to attack Mr Delany.
‘She had a horrible look’
Mr Croft had been staying in Lawrence’s flat in the period leading up to Mr Delany’s death.
He drank heavily and took amphetamines throughout April 15, Mr Quinlan said.
In his account of events, Mr Croft told police Lawrence “made a lunging movement” for Mr Delany in the kitchen.
“She had a horrible look on her face,” he said. “Just one lunge and he fell to the floor.”
He claimed she said “have that” as she lunged.
“She didn’t seem bothered at all,” Mr Croft said.
He claims he did not know the injury was serious and went to sleep shortly afterwards.
Mr Croft said he did not know what led to the stabbing but told police Lawrence often argued with Mr Delany because they were “jealous of each other”.
The 999 call
Lawrence made a 999 call at 10.56pm on April 15. It lasted 21 minutes.
She told the ambulance service operator that Mr Delany was in “a lot of pain”.
A male voice was then heard on the line to say: “Tell them you stabbed him.”
Lawrence told the operator a “goon” walked in and “tried to stab him up”, then “scarpered”.
She also described the alleged intruder as a “madman.”
A man’s voice was heard to say: “I am dying Dee.”
Lawrence replied: “You are not dying.”
Mr Quinlan said what followed was a “charade” where Lawrence and Mr Delany pretended someone other than her had stabbed him.
She asked Mr Delany if he knew who did it, to which he replied that he did know, but did not want to say.
Mr Delany was heard to say “I can’t move my legs”. Lawrence was heard to laugh, Mr Quinlan said.
The operator then addressed Lawrence as “Sue”, having misheard her name.
Lawrence said: “Where the hell did you get Sue from?”
She then went off the line and Mr Philips picked up the phone, crying.
He said: “My friend has been stabbed in the stomach. Someone has come in and had an argument with him and stabbed him in the stomach.”
Mr Quinlan noted that at this point Mr Phillips was “playing along” with the “charade”.
When police and paramedics attended, Lawrence answered the door and said the person with the knife had gone.
PC Hill saw Mr Delany was lying on a mattress in the living room, naked from the waist up and grey in complexion.
Asked how had attacked him, Lawrence told officers: “It could have been Ti but I am not sure.”
In their report, police said Lawrence appeared “not very concerned about Mr Delany’s welfare”.
She had a blood stain on the top of the white vest she was wearing, police said.
They also noted Mr Phillips was “extremely drunk”.
The paramedics found Mr Delany in cardiac arrest. They performed chest compressions and were able to restart blood circulation.
He was driven by ambulance to Southmead Hospital in Bristol and taken to the operating theatre, but he died at 3.30am.
The blood-stained knife
Mr Quinlan said forensic scientists found Mr Delany had a two-centimetre-long wound on his abdomen, scratches and cuts on both cheeks, as well as bruises and lacerations on both lips.
Three slits were detected on his aorta and there were bruises to his right shoulder, right forearm, right wrist and right hand, the prosecutor added.
A knife, with blood on its blade and handle, was found on top of the flat’s kitchen cupboard.
Mr Quinlan said Blood on the knife was found to be from at least three people.
A major part matched to the DNA profile of Delany, he continued.
The forensic team found Lawrence might also have contributed DNA, Mr Quinlan told the court.
He also said they concluded the blade could have caused Mr Delany’s wounds.
Blood stains from ‘heavy contact’, which matched Delany’s DNA profile, were found on the top Lawrence wore at the time of the incident, Mr Quinlan added.
He said DNA from at least three people was found in spots of bloodstains on her top.
What Lawrence told police
In police interview, Lawrence claimed she had been asleep on the bed when the ‘intruder’ came into the flat.
She said she had a fight with Delany on the morning of the incident. He threw her to the floor and they “scuffled”, she claimed.
When police arrived, Mr Delany jumped out of the window, then returned to the flat and spent the day drinking with her and Mr Phillips, she said.
Lawrence said they drank sherry, wine, beer and champagne, before going to Tesco to replenish their stock.
She told police she and Mr Delany had sex in the flat that evening.
The defendant described the ‘intruder’ as a man with a hoodie on who “charged into the flat”.
“Then Jack grabbed his side and shouted he had been stabbed,” she told police.
She claimed this knifeman was a man named Tiger who had a grudge against Jack.
Lawrence also suggested it could have been another man, whom she knew as Snoop.
She said she sometimes had arguments with Mr Delany because he was “jealous and insecure”.
But the defendant claimed the atmosphere in the flat was a “celebration” and everyone was “getting on like a house on fire” on the night of the incident.
She said Phillips was asleep at the time of the stabbing and that he was lying about her attacking Mr Delany.
Lawrence also claimed Croft was “out of it” when the incident happened.
Dee later changed her account to say she stabbed Mr Delany in self-defence after he attacked her and grabbed her by the throat.
Mr Quinlan said: “She claimed she ran away, he pursued her and as he approached her she picked up an implement and stabbed out towards him, injuring him.
“She believes this implement was a knife. She said it was Mr Delany’s idea to blame another man named Tiger.”
The trial continues.