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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Woman jailed for killing cousin
The mother of snooker player Mark King has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering her terminally ill cousin.

Sandra King, from Oldchurch Road in Romford, Essex, had denied killing Jacqueline Oberlin who was suffering from cancer, claiming the 68-year-old must have committed suicide.

But an Old Bailey jury heard that a pathologist later found Mrs Oberlin, who walked with a stick, could not have used the force needed to stab herself through the heart.

Judge Giles Forrester said King had stabbed her cousin as she lay on her bed at home in east London in February 2003.

When the judge sentenced the 63-year-old, who had been found guilty of murder by a jury in less than two hours, she broke down in the dock and cried "I don't deserve it".

At the time, her life was chaotic as the result of anxiety, depression and alcohol
Peter Carter QC, defending
Her husband Bill, 70, and 29-year-old son were in the public gallery on Monday.

Mark King, who is rated 11th in the world, announced his retirement from snooker earlier this year after his mother was arrested.

Peter Carter QC, defending, said it was not hard to imagine the effect of the jailing on her family, who were "thoroughly decent" people.

He said: "At the time, her life was chaotic as the result of anxiety, depression and alcohol."

The court had heard that King had been taking care of Mrs Oberlin for five years and that both women drank heavily.

'No winners'

The prosecution said King had been overheard confessing to killing her cousin when she forgot to replace the receiver after calling emergency services following the death.

Nicholas Hilliard told the court that the 999 operator stayed on the line and recorded background noises in which King could be heard saying: "I've killed her."

King told the court that she got angry when Mrs Oberlin criticised her family.

She said: "I just had to take it all in and I was having to defend them. She just seemed to enjoy pulling different people apart - anybody."

Aggressive and abusive

The 63-year-old said she had been staying the night so she could take her cousin for her cancer operation the next day when the women began drinking.

"I felt stressed out, worried because I knew she was going to hospital. I felt so stressed."

Mrs Oberlin was a "lovely person" but became aggressive and abusive when she was drinking, King said.

After the case Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Gibson said: "There are no winners in this case."

Woman denies killing cousin
07 Oct 03  |  Essex

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