TRAGIC Julie Gallagher suffered for years at the hands of her violent husband before he killed her - but throughout his four-week trial George Gallagher denied ever laying a finger on his wife.
He claimed he “loved the lass” whom he had once imprisoned for a fortnight in the attic of their marital home on Eldon Road, Eastwood, Rotherham.
Julie, aged 41, was seen regularly with bruises, black eyes and split lips - injuries inflicted by the former steelworker who once subjected her to a vicious beating even while they holidayed in Greece.
In his final brutal attack before the murder, Gallagher beat Julie, dragged her out of the house by her hair and locked her out. She was so badly injured, she had to go to hospital.
It was her 48-year-old sister Deborah Bradshaw who found Julie’s blood-soaked body slumped on the sofa at her house on Foljambe Road, Eastwood, Rotherham.
After the separation, she wrote in a note to herself: “I may be lonely but at least I’m not a punchbag anymore.”
Julie finally plucked up the courage to report Gallagher to police in November 2009 - the first time she had ever reported his violence in over seven years of marriage. He had punched her in the face with a clenched fist before grabbing her round the neck with one hand and yanking her hair with the other. Gallagher, 56, then dragged her outside and locked her out.
He claimed in court Julie had simply fallen over.
Months later Julie retracted her statement - something Gallagher had hounded her to do.
Lying to the judge and jury, Gallagher claimed he was at home alone on the night of Julie’s murder on March 25. In reality he had held his wife, frozen with terror at knifepoint before stabbing her with a single thrust of the blade.
After murdering his wife, Gallagher searched her home, removing the weapon and also taking away Julie’s emotional note, which has never been recovered.
After his arrest, Gallagher told police officers he “loved” Julie, and asked: “What would I kill her for?”