Barnsley murder accused sobs giving evidence

Chantelle Barnsdale-Quean, aged 35
Chantelle Barnsdale-Quean, aged 35
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A dad accused of murdering his wife wept as he told a court he had awoken on the sofa to find her ‘clawing’ at his neck with a knife.

Stephen Barnsdale-Quean - who denies murdering Chantelle, the mother of his two young daughters - told Sheffield Crown Court she stabbed him in the thigh and stomach.

The 42-year-old said he had fallen asleep while waiting for Chantelle to get ready so they could go out.

He said: “I was awoken by something clawing at my neck, the sensation was that it was biting backwards and forwards. 
“It was a bit of a shock - not something I expected to be woken up by.

“She had the knife in her hand and it was going at my neck.

“It was scary, probably one of the scariest things I have ever seen.

“I was looking at her, it was Chantelle but it wasn’t her. There was a look in her eyes that I’d never seen before.

“There was a vacancy.”

Barnsdale-Quean broke down as he told the court how he ‘cowered’ on the settee and held up his hands to protect himself from a ‘rain of blows’ before trying to get away.

He added: “I went to push her shoulders hoping to disarm her but I missed and she took one final lunge with the knife and it went straight into my stomach.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was just looking down at it.”

Barnsdale-Quean said he had ‘vague recollections’ of trying to call emergency services to the couple’s home on Upperwood Road, Darfield, Barnsley, on March 4.

He said the first he knew of 35-year-old Chantelle’s death was in the back of an ambulance when an officer told him he was arrested for murder and he had ‘no idea why’.

When defence barrister Bryan Cox QC asked him if he had killed Chantelle, he replied: “Why would I? I loved her. I have got no reason to.

“We had always worked through bad times before.”

Earlier the court was told Chantelle suffered with chronic pain in her back and other parts of her body as well as other medical problems.

Barnsdale-Quean said she had been ‘quite seriously depressed’ during the later part of 2012, and had struggled to return to work at the Department of Work and Pensions.

He alleged Chantelle had injured him, and thrown things at him, previously but that the couple also had ‘good times’.

He also spoke of taking a knife and cutting his own wrist when he ‘couldn’t see a way out’ of financial problems.

The trial continues.