Murder accused in ‘killing claim’

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A HUSBAND accused of stabbing his estranged wife to death warned her he had previously “got shut of somebody” and got away with his crime, a court heard.

George Gallagher, aged 55, denies murdering 41-year-old Julie Gallagher, whose blood-soaked body was found on the settee in her home on Foljambe Road, Eastwood, Rotherham.

She had suffered a single stab wound to the chest.

The prosecution say Gallagher held Julie at knifepoint before killing her with a “single thrust” of a blade in March last year.

Jurors at Sheffield Crown Court heard Gallagher stalked Julie obsessively in the months before her death, and subjected her to violent attacks throughout their marriage.

Beverley Jepson, landlady of The Shakespeare Inn near the Gallaghers’ marital home on Eldon Road, said Julie visited the pub “sobbing” after a final assault in November 2009.

“Her back was all grazed with blood on the surface,” she said.

Breaking down in tears, Mrs Jepson added Julie told her: “I’ve got to get out. If I don’t, he will end up killing me.”

She said Julie also spoke about Gallagher’s chilling warning.

“He once told her, ‘I’ve got shut of somebody once and I wasn’t found out - I could do that again’,” Beverley said. “I don’t know whether he was playing mind games.”

The court heard Julie moved out of Eldon Road to live on Foljambe Road, but that Gallagher was spotted outside The Shakespeare in a black Ford car while Julie drank in the pub on Valentine’s Day last year.

He was on conditional bail at the time after being charged with assault and wasn’t allowed to contact Julie.

Jurors were told Julie’s body was found two days after the killing by her sister Deborah Bradshaw and that personal items had been taken from the house, including her diary.

Gallagher also allegedly removed the murder weapon and a letter, penned by Julie to herself, in which she wrote: “I may be lonely but I’m not a punchbag any more.”

Nick Clarke QC, prosecuting, said: “Not only was Julie’s killer known to her but the killer was extremely self-controlled, acting soberly, thinking clearly and not enraged.”

The trial continues.