Wheathampstead wife jailed for shotgun murder of husband

A 62-YEAR-OLD woman from Wheathampstead has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for murdering her husband. Helen Lawson, who was sentenced today at Winchester Crown Court, shot her husband Geoff Lawson, 61, in the heart with a double-barrelled shotgun on

A 62-YEAR-OLD woman from Wheathampstead has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for murdering her husband.

Helen Lawson, who was sentenced today at Winchester Crown Court, shot her husband Geoff Lawson, 61, in the heart with a double-barrelled shotgun on the morning of January 4 last year at the couples' seaside cottage in the Isle of Wight.

Lawson, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of provocation and diminished responsibility, argued that her "bully" husband drove her to pull the trigger because, as she said in court last week, "living with him was hell".

Lawson shot her husband, a retired electrician who lived in Lower Luton Road for much of his life, with an over-and-under style Beretta shotgun shortly after 3am on the day of the murder and phoned the police immediately afterwards to tell them "I've just shot my husband".

Describing what happened, Prosecutor Nicholas Haggan said in court last week: "The defendant had collected the keys to the gun cabinet, which was in the loft, opened it and taken out one of her two shotguns and some cartridges."

"She went upstairs into the bedroom, put the light on and called out her husband's name. He opened his eyes and said 'oh Helen, no.'"

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Following the incident, Lawson, who often drank with her husband at the Gibraltar Castle Pub in Batford when the couple lived in Wheathampstead, was interviewed at length and admitted to officers that she had drunk two glasses of brandy and two glasses of white wine that night.

Lawson, who was suffering from depression at the time, said that the alcohol had given her the "courage" to pull the trigger.

Crown Advocate for CPS Hampshire & Isle of Wight Matthew Lawson extended his condolences' to Geoff Lawon's family and added: "We charged this case as murder because we believed, on the basis of the evidence, that Helen Lawson intended to kill her husband and was fully aware of the consequences. We are pleased that the jury has supported that charge with its verdict today.