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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Man dies after housework row
The High Court in Edinburgh
The case was heard at the High Court in Edinburgh
A woman prodded her partner with a kitchen knife to get him to clean their flat - and cut a major vein in his thigh.

The 47-year-old man died after suffering "catastrophic bleeding", a court heard.

Kathleen Sherlock admitted a charge of culpable homicide when she appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Sentence on the 62-year-old was deferred for reports.

Sherlock had originally been accused of murdering Andrew Brunton at their home in Murrayburn Place, Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, in February.

Advocate depute Geoffrey Mitchell told the court that the couple had lived together for about 10 years.

'Near fatal'

He said both had experienced problems with drink, which had cost Mr Brunton his job as a station supervisor at Edinburgh's Waverley Station.

At the time of the incident Mr Brunton had a "near fatal" amount of alcohol in his system, although Sherlock had far less.

Mr Mitchell said Sherlock had told police that she was trying to wean Mr Brunton off drink, which had led to "a certain amount of friction".

She said that was her intention to move him, but she had just gone too far
Advocate depute Geoffrey Mitchell

On the day of the incident Mr Brunton had spent much of the day in bed.

When Sherlock told him it was time to clean the flat he replied: "In a minute."

She said she just gave him a "poke" on the leg with a knife and said: "Right, move yourself."

Mr Mitchell told the court: "She said that was her intention to move him, but she had just gone too far.

"She saw the blood begin to pour from Mr Brunton. She realised what she had done and decided she needed to get help."

Sherlock went to a neighbour's home to ask for help because she had stabbed Mr Brunton.

Major vein

She later admitted "prodding" her partner three times with the knife.

Mr Brunton died from "catastrophic bleeding" from one wound which cut the major femoral vein in his thigh.

Defence solicitor advocate Maurice Smyth said his client had been "poking or prodding" Mr Brunton to get him to his feet.

There was no intention to kill, he told the court.


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