Woman dubbed ‘mother-of-the-year’ jailed for killing husband with kitchen knife

A former “mum-of-the-year” who killed her husband by stabbing him in the heart has been jailed for 14 years.

Helena Atay, 42, known as Karine, was cleared of murdering her husband Atakan Atay, 45, earlier this month but convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of lack of intent, following a four-week-old trial which finished earlier this month.

Northumbria Police confirmed that Atay was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday.

The jury heard how the couple had a row during which Atay plunged a 12cm kitchen knife into her husband’s chest, just below a tattoo which read Sophie My Endless Love – a tribute to their two-year-old daughter who died from the childhood cancer neuroblastoma in 2010.

Atay (pictured) won the Chronicle newspaper’s Mum Of The Year contest in honour of her efforts to raise £500,000 to pay for pioneering treatment for Sophie in the United States.

News of her appeal reached TV boss Simon Cowell who pledged up to £100,000, but Sophie was too unwell to benefit from the fundraising and did not have the treatment.

Atay claimed that her husband was controlling and had subjected her to years of physical and verbal aggression but police and prosecutors said she had exaggerated what had happened during their 20-year marriage in a bid to escape being convicted of killing Atakan.

Detective Chief Inspector Sharon Chatterton said: “Karine attempted to paint a picture of Atakan as a controlling and violent husband but we believe this has been greatly exaggerated to excuse her behaviour and avoid a conviction.”

Ms Chatteron said: “We have worked closely with the family since Atakan’s death and we have witnessed first-hand the devastation it has caused for everyone.

“It is a tragic case that has left two young children without a father and with a mother who will now spend time in prison.

“Atakan was described to us as a kind and loyal man who, along with his family, experienced some very difficult times.

“This included his daughter losing her fight to cancer in 2010, his father passing away and Atakan himself suffering from some serious health matters.

“I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult the loss of Sophie would have been for the family but it is clear that Karine and Atakan struggled in the years after Sophie’s death.”

She said: “The sentence handed down by a judge today won’t bring Atakan back to his family but I hope it can bring them some closure and help them to move on with the rest of their lives.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Northumbria Police.