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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 14:20 GMT
Court hears of stepfather's threats
Donna Tinker
Tinker claimed self-defence at her trial
An eight-year-old girl has told a court how her stepfather threatened her mother with a hot iron before being stabbed to death.

Donna Tinker, 32, of Harrogate wiped away tears as her daughter Natalie told three senior appeal court judges about the day her stepfather was killed.

Tinker was jailed for life in April 2000 after being found guilty of murdering her husband Richard with a vegetable knife.

The youngster was giving her evidence via a video link at the Court of Appeal in London.


Richard had the iron next to my mum's face, threatening her

Natalie Tinker

Tinker, originally from North Tyneside, claimed at her trial that her husband had put his arm around her neck and threatened her with a hot iron.

Natalie, who wanted the judges and counsel to remain robed and with their wigs on, said she saw what happened as she "peeked" through a hatch between the sitting room and the kitchen.

She said Mr Tinker had put the iron "really near her face" in the kitchen.

The schoolgirl, who was five at the time of the killing, denied that her mother or her "nana" had told her what to say.

Cross-examination

When questioned by Tinker's counsel Vera Baird QC, Natalie told the court: "Richard had the iron next to my mum's face, threatening her".

Evidence from Natalie about the row at the family's home in Norwich Drive, Harrogate, in June 1999 is one of three grounds of appeal being considered.

A single blow punctured Mr Tinker's lung and he died in hospital a week later.

Natalie was cross-examined by counsel for both sides.

The judges have watched a video in which Natalie described what she had seen.

She and her two sisters now live with their grandparents near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The hearing continues.


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02 Dec 02 | England
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