Woman 'knifed to death at home by stalker husband'

A WOMAN was allegedly knifed in the heart in her own home by her estranged husband who had been stalking her for months, a court heard.

Julie Gallagher, 41, died from the single stab wound inflicted by her husband George Gallagher, who held a knife to her throat before killing her, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

Gallagher, 55, had been stalking his victim after she reported him to the police for domestic violence and fled the marital home.

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The court heard she was so relieved to escape his violent attacks she wrote herself an emotional letter cataloguing the violence entitled "Just to remind you."

Part of it read: "I may be lonely but I'm not a punchbag any more."

Nicholas Clarke QC, prosecuting, said Julie Gallagher, who had been married to her husband for seven years, was assaulted on a regular basis by him.

She kept a diary recording some incidents.

One entry on August 26, 2009, read: "Just punched me in the face. Can't put up with it. Need to move on now."

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The final straw was on November 27 that year when he punched her in the face, grabbed her around the neck and dragged her out of their house in Eldon Road, Eastwood, Rotherham, by her hair before locking her out.

She went to the police. He denied assaulting her and was released on conditional bail.

Mrs Gallagher went to live at Foljambe Road, Eastwood, where she was to meet her death.

Gallagher then tried to put pressure on his wife to drop the assault charge by telephoning and texting her. She retracted her statement but the police still pursued the case.

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Mr Clarke said she is thought to have been killed on the evening of March 25 last year. Her body was found two days later.

Hardly anything was disturbed in the house, except for a glass and pool trophy which had her husband's fingerprints on them.

Personal items which only the killer would know about were removed from the house.

"Not only was the killer known to her he was self-controlled and acting clearly and not in a rage," said Mr Clarke.

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Mr Clarke said Gallagher had been violent to two previous wives.

When arrested, he said of his wife's diary: "There's no bad word in it."

In fact when it was recovered all the pages from November 2, 2009, had been ripped out.

Mr Clarke said it was an attempt to eliminate evidence.

"It shows a cold, calculating response," he said.

Two days after killing her he sent a text to her mobile signed with two kisses, something he had never done previously.

"It was an attempt to mislead the police," he said.

Gallagher denies murder. The trial continues.

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