Court told tragic wife endured years of violence

Julie Ann Gallagher, murder victim.
Julie Ann Gallagher, murder victim.
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A DOMINEERING and controlling husband knifed his estranged wife to death in a “cold killing” , a court heard.

Julie Gallagher, aged 41, was found on the settee in her home on Foljambe Road, Eastwood, Rotherham, soaked in blood after suffering a single stab wound to the chest.

Police at the scene of the killing

Police at the scene of the killing

Julie’s husband George Gallagher, 55, is accused of murdering his wife after regularly assaulting her throughout their eight-year marriage.

Jurors at Sheffield Crown Court were told Gallagher held Julie at knifepoint before stabbing her with a “single thrust” of a blade in March last year.

Gallagher had a history of stalking and attacking his partners, the court was told.

At the time of the alleged killing he was on bail, accused of assaulting Julie by dragging her out of their house by her hair.

Nick Clarke QC, prosecuting, said Julie visited The Cranworth pub on March 24 where she had “an awful lot to drink” and left at around 1.15am. Her body was found the following Saturday by her sister Deborah Bradshaw.

The court heard two marks were found on Julie’s neck, “indicative of her being totally dominated at knifepoint.”

“Imagine her fear - she was so scared she could not put up a fight,” Mr Clarke said.

“She would have known the identity of her killer.”

Gallagher removed the weapon and Julie’s mobile phone.

He also took a letter from near the settee, written by Julie to herself.

The emotional note, addressed “This is just to remind me,” read: “I may be lonely but I’m not a punchbag any more.”

Mr Clarke said they married in 2002 and lived together on Eldon Road, Eastwood.

“In recent years Julie had been seen with bruises to her face, finger marks on her neck, black eyes, burst lips and the like,” Mr Clarke said.

Julie initially made excuses but later admitted to being beaten “on a regular basis.”

She wrote in her diary on August 26 2009: “Just punched me in the face. Can’t keep up with it - need to move on now.”

Julie told Beverley Jepson, landlady of The Shakespeare pub, that she was leaving her husband after the final assault three months later.

“She said she was leaving him this time, because if she didn’t he would end up killing her,” Mr Clarke said.

But the jury heard Gallagher behaved obsessively, stalking Julie in hired cars.

Fibres were found on Julie’s pyjamas and cushion covers that matched the jacket Gallagher was wearing at the time of the killing.

“He has no alibi,” Mr Clarke said. “The killer was extremely self-controlled, acting soberly and thinking clearly.”

Gallagher denies assault and murder. The trial continues.