Violent partner jailed for brutal knife murder

A DOMESTIC abuse victim was brutally stabbed to death by her violent partner with a knife she carried with her for her own protection against him.

Stephen Maynard.

Gail Lucas, 51, suffered horrific slash injuries to her throat as she fought to defend herself in the driver’s seat of her car during the attack by long-term partner Stephen Maynard.

Following the attack, he left her in the vehicle where she was found by a member of the public who called an ambulance. Ms Lucas died in hospital 10 days later.

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In the months before, she had been moved to a safe house as Maynard continued to ignore injunctions and court orders designed to stop him from approaching or threatening her.

Maynard was given a life sentence and told he must serve a minimum of 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder.

Leeds Crown Court heard the couple had been together since the 1980s and have two grown-up children but Mrs Lucas ended the relationship in 2011 due to his continued violence towards her.

Neil Davey, QC, said the attack happened in the early hours of August 4 this year after Mrs Lucas had been to a party and drove to Maynard’s home in Mexborough Grove, Chapeltown, Leeds.

The court heard Mrs Lucas was in the habit of carrying a small craft knife with her to protect herself from Maynard because she feared he would kill her.

Jailing Lucas, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said: “It is likely that at some point in order to protect herself she drew the knife which you then seized from her and turned on her with savage and lethal effect.”

After the case, Det Insp Jon Morgan, of West Yorkshire Police said: “Maynard inflicted very severe injuries on Gail Lucas in a sustained attack as she sat her car and then left her there. A member of the public found her and called an ambulance but, despite medical treatment, she died ten days later in hospital.

“Although the specific motive for the attack remains unknown, Maynard was her ex-partner and there was a long history of domestic violence, abuse and harassment. Gail was a mother of three and her family are understandably distraught at her sudden death in such violent circumstances”