Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 17:24 UK

Man denies Facebook murder plan

Hayley Jones
Hayley Jones had four children with Brian Lewis

A man accused of murdering his partner after she changed her Facebook status from "married" to "single" has said he did not deliberately plan to stab her.

Brian Lewis, 31, from New Tredegar, Caerphilly said he had wanted to touch her sleeping bag with a kitchen knife he had been using but "misjudged it".

He denies murdering Hayley Jones, 26, a mother of four, in March 2007.

He told Cardiff Crown Court of "petty" arguments about her computer use, while she became secretive using her laptop.

Mr Lewis is accused of strangling and stabbing Ms Jones at the home they shared.

He fled the scene during the early hours of 12 March, 2007, leaving the couple's four children to find their mother's body in the living room.

He said he intended to kill himself by crashing his car but "chickened out" and rang the police to ask them to check on their children, the trial heard.


I didn't have an issue with her using it (the laptop), it was just when normal life was disrupted
Brian Lewis

Mr Lewis told defending barrister Peter Murphy QC the time Ms Jones spent on Facebook had been the cause of "bickering" within their home.

The court heard he did have an issue with the amount of time Ms Jones was spending on a laptop computer he bought for her in February.

He said she would sometimes come home at 8am after working a 12 hour shift at a care home and stay up for "three to four hours" browsing the site before going to bed, and her free evenings were also spent on the computer.

"I would be trying to send the kids to bed and she would be on it," he said.

"You would try to talk to her and she would just ignore you. There were arguments."

He added: "I didn't have an issue with her using it (the laptop), it was just when normal life was disrupted."

He said Ms Jones was quite open about her activity on the computer at first but gradually became more secretive and would close the lid on the laptop whenever he came near.

He said a friend had told him that Ms Jones had changed her status on Facebook to single at the beginning of March.

When asked about the altercation that led to Ms Jones's death, Lewis told detectives she had questioned whether he was the father of their children.

He said, "out of frustration" he wanted to touch her sleeping bag with a kitchen knife he claimed he was using to trim his finger nails with.

'Frustration'

"I must have misjudged it and I must have mistimed it," he said in interview.

After being stabbed, Lewis told detectives Ms Jones responded by saying: 'What are you doing this for? We've got kids together' before adding 'Come here and give me a cwtch (Welsh for cuddle).'

He said he later found himself with his hands around Ms Jones's throat and only came to and released his grip when he heard one of his sons calling out from upstairs.

When asked by Mr Murphy what he did next, Mr Lewis replied: "I just panicked. I just sort of knew in my own head, you could see that she was dead."

Earlier, Mr Lewis broke down when he was asked about threats he has made at the Phllipstown Social Club on 8 March, 2007.

When asked there whether he thought his partner was chatting to men over the internet, Mr Lewis said to friends: "I hope she is not or that anybody else is chasing after her or I will slit their throats or cut their head off."

He told the jury: "I just said it out of frustration. It is all right for me to say I would never do something like that but..."

When Mr Murphy asked his client to complete the sentence following a lengthy pause, Mr Lewis replied in a voice cracking with emotion: "When you are in drink...you say you wouldn't do it really but after what I did to Hayley...I don't know how to explain it."

He denied he had deliberately killed Ms Jones under cross-examination by prosecution counsel Mark Evans QC.

Mr Evans said: "What you did was to leave your house and drive to the nearest police station.

"That is all you had time for. That is because you perfectly well knew what you had done because what you had done was something you had done deliberately."

Lewis replied: "Definitely not. No."

The case was adjourned until Wednesday.



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SEE ALSO
Facebook 'chat-up before murder'
02 Sep 09 |  Wales
Murder 'followed Facebook change'
01 Sep 09 |  Wales


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