SIMON BIRCH MURDER TRIAL: Mum tells jury how 'lovely' family Christmas Day ended in bloodshed

A mum has told murder jurors how her "lovely" family Christmas Day ended in bloodshed when one of her guests died after having his throat cut.

Businessman Adam Jenkins killed Simon Birch when he cut his neck with a kitchen knife on December 25 last year, prosecutors claim. Newcastle Crown Court heard Jenkins, a successful 35-year-old construction company boss had hosted a Christmas Day family event, with partner Natalie Shaw, at their "large" home, which was set in its own land, in Newbottle, Sunderland.

The guests included a number of family members including Jenkins' mum, step-dad, father, brother and his sister Emma Jenkins, with her partner Mr Birch, 39. Jenkins, of Sunderland Road, Newbottle, denies murder and is being tried by a jury.

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His long term partner Miss Shaw gave a video statement to police in the days after the tragedy, which has been played to jurors. Miss Shaw said at the start of the day the men had been drinking in a separate bar building, while the women prepared and cooked lunch in the main house. She said when the men arrived back they were joking that Mr Birch had drank nine pints but they then enjoyed dinner and were all too full for dessert.

A police investigation was launched after Simon Birch's death on Christmas Day.

Miss Shaw said: "We were all just laughing and carrying on around the table." Miss Shaw said the food was followed by a game of Play Your Cards Right and guests were laughing and dancing but she could see "tension" between Mr Birch and Emma Jenkins.

She told police after the guests moved into the bar building, her partner Adam went to bed, in the main house, early and she could still see issuesbetween Emma Jenkins and Mr Birch. Miss Shaw said: "Every so often Emma would scream out 'don't touch me like that, don't ******* touch me'. She was just shouting saying 'he's just pushed me on the sly'."

Miss Shaw said she tried to "keep the peace" as tensions continued and a row broke out between Mr Birch and Jenkins' step-dad. The court heard Mr Birch and Emma Jenkins eventually went to bed, in separate rooms in the main house but everyone woke up again.

Miss Shaw said during trouble which broke out on the landing, Adam Jenkins had agreed "we will sort it out in the morning". But she said the problems continued and added: "Adam said 'you are not doing this in my house." She said the group ended up back downstairs and added: "He (Adam) was shouting'you won't do this in my house'. Birchy gripped hold of him and the two were scuffling. Birchy had hold of him. I tried to get in the middle. Emma came from nowhere."

Simon Birch.

Miss Shaw said the four of them then ended up in a scuffle but she then saw Mr Birch attack Emma Jenkins. She said: "I got up and turned around, in front of the Christmas tree, Birchy was over her and he was just punching into her, like a punch bag. The noise was horrible. I got hold of his neck and pulled him back, saying 'get off her'."

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Miss Shaw said she then realised her partner Adam had gone into the kitchen so she closed the door, which was faulty and could not be opened from inside, to keep him in there and called 999. She added: "Me and Emma managed to push Birchy out of the front door and lock the door. I went into the kitchen and Adam had gone.

"I just went running outside and I just seen the two, as if they were shouting at each other. I don't know what they were saying. As I got closer I saw Birchy with his hand on his neck and there was blood coming out. I quickly got my hand on him. I kept looking into Birchy's eyes, saying 'please stay with me, stay with me'. The colour was just draining from his face. He fell to the ground."

Miss Shaw said she saw Adam on the phone to the ambulance and they took turns to do CPR on Mr Birch until help arrived. Miss Shaw said the atmosphere during the day had started "lovely" but added: "I tried my hardest to keep the peace and I couldn't. I just wish I had asked them to leave when they were arguing."

Miss Shaw told jurors her partner Mr Jenkins was involved in charities, worked in a soup kitchen and is a "kind and caring" man. She said their relationship had been "great, couldn't ask for anything more" and he is "always there" for his sister Emma.

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Miss Shaw said she and Jenkins were aware of a history of domestic violence between Mr Birch and Emma. She said Emma Jenkins would sometimes call them "fearing for her life" after rows. Miss Shaw added: "He (Adam) didn't like it and kept saying to Emma you need to get away from it, step away from it. He was just constantly worried."

The trial continues.