Mum charged with murdering husband tells court she was victim of abuse

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

A mum on trial for the murder of her husband has told jurors she was a victim of abuse by him.

Atakan Atay, 45, died from a stab wound to the heart during a row with his wife Helena Karine Atay at their family home last October.

The 42-year-old accused, who was brought up in Washington, Tyne and Wear, made references to the couple's late daughter, who died of neuroblastoma when she was just three, as Mr Atay was dying on the floor.

Mr Atay was pronounced dead at the house in Birtley, Gateshead, soon after the emergency call, which captured the couple's final conversation, was made.

From the witness box at Newcastle Crown Court Atay, who denies murder, has told jurors she was the victim of physical and verbal abuse at the hands of her husband.

But the mum said she stayed in the marriage as she feared her husband may take their children back to his homeland in Turkey and was worried how she would survive.

She told the court: "I was scared, scared of the children going, scared of how I would survive, I didn't know how I would survive."

Atay told the court she was "expected" to do housework when her husband was out and told jurors: "He had a bit of an obsession with the top of doors, the window ledges and radiators.

"He would come in an run his finger along and check. I would make sure they were the first things I would do."

Atay told the court she would sometimes be locked in the house when her husband went out and would sometimes lie on the bed "thinking of nothing" to cope with the deterioration in their relationship.

She added: "A lot of the time I would avoid being in the same place, the same room, I would try and busy myself, I would make sure the washing machine was going to finish at a certain time so I could take the washing and put it out.

"I would always have something to do, to keep busy."

Toby Hedworth QC, defending, asked Atay: "Did you feel you had the freedom to make choices?"

Atay replied: "Not at the end, no. I felt I had lost my voice."

The mum told jurors she and her husband had been grappling during a row on the night he died and that she did not recall having the knife in her hand but added "I must have".

Jurors were shown a photograph of bruising on Atay's leg, taken when she was in custody after her husband's death, where she claimed he had stamped on her during the fatal argument.

The trial continues.