Cleared Of Murder After Years Of Physical & Mental Abuse
A woman who had been the victim of domestic violence has been cleared of murdering her long-term partner. Wendy Ellis, 40, denied murdering former soldier William McAuley, 38, at the couple’s home in Blaenau Ffestiniog, on April 10th this year.
She said she suffered a catalogue of abuse from her drunken partner, known for being violent when drunk and who was repeatedly reported to the police.
The court heard she suffered “years of fearsome physical abuse”.
The court heard that on the day he died Mr McAuley had been out drinking. A friend said although he was drunk he appeared to be in a good mood but was “unable to stand that well”.
When the 38-year-old labourer returned home, a row broke out between him and Ms Ellis.
She told the jury that he began hurling abuse and punched her in the face.
When he picked up a television and threatened to throw it at her, Ms Ellis ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife used to peel potatoes.
At that point, Mr McAuley grabbed her around the throat.
Sometime soon after Mr McAuley suffered a single, fatal stab wound to his chest.
At one point during the trial, Ms Ellis said she stabbed him but later said she did not realise what she had done.
She explained that she was in fear of her life and had run away thinking he was going to come after her.
It was only after she saw blood on the knife and realised that he was not following her that she said she realised how serious the situation was and called the police.
Her defence barrister, Elwen Evans QC, asked her: “Did you want to kill William McAuley? Did you want to hurt him?” Wendy Ellis answered: “No.”
In his summing up Mr Justice Roderick Evans said Ellis was regarded as a good daughter and valuable member of the community who people were proud to know.
She was described as an honest and dependable, gentle and kind woman “always with a smile on her face.”
The prosecution recognised that she was abused physically, mentally and emotionally by Mr McAuley but claimed she occasionally abused him.
Mr McAuley’s family paid tribute to him saying he was as a “popular family man”.