UPDATED: 53-year-old Deborah Ann Napier has been found guilty of murdering local man Jolyon Wray by stabbing him in the back with a 5-inch steak knife.
As first reported by Island Echo, Police were called to Leavington House on East Hill Road, Ryde on the afternoon of Monday 13th June, where officers found the body of 46-year-old Jolyon Wray with a knife penetrating through his back. Napier was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder, questioned and later charged by detectives.
The trial at Winchester Crown Court, which began last week, has heard how on the day of the killing Police received an emergency 999 call, but after just 2 minutes the caller hung up – it was at this point that Deborah Napier is said to have stabbed Jolyon Wray in the back as he lent over on the sofa. The emergency operator called back and Napier stated that she had stabbed Jolyon Wray as she was ‘fed up’ with him hitting her, she had simply ‘had enough’.
The court has been told how Napier thought Wray was going to hit her with a boot as he had done 10 minutes previously. Mr Wray had woken Napier up by shouting and calling her a ‘lazy cow’ before hitting and kicking her.
Napier’s 3-year relationship with Jolyon has been described to the court as violent and blighted by alcohol – on the day of the killing both the defendant and the victim were drunk, around 2.5x the drink-drive limit. Napier has said that she suffered sexual abuse when she was younger which made her turn to alcohol and that she had suffered years of domestic violence from both Wray and a former partner. She also is said to have suffered from depression.
At the beginning of the trial, Napier, of Amazon Close, Basingstoke, admitted manslaughter but denied murder due to a loss of control. Despite saying that she did not mean to seriously hurt Jolyon Wray and did not remember picking up the knife, the jury has today (Thursday) found Napier guilty of murder on a 10 to 1 majority. A 12th juror left the bench due to medical reasons.
Prosecutor Charles Gabb has said Deborah Napier’s attack on Jolyon Wray was not merely a ‘loss of control’ but ‘completely extreme’.
Detective Constable Luke Donovan has today said:
“Deborah and Jolyon clearly had a troubled relationship, which, following a vicious attack, resulted in the tragic loss of Jolyon’s life.
“Despite it being clear from the outset who was responsible for Jolyon’s death, and that Deborah Napier had already pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the beginning of the trial, the investigation team worked hard to present evidence for the jury to consider murder.
“I hope today’s guilty verdict goes some way to giving Jolyon’s family closure and that they can now put the terrible events of this day behind them.
“I would like to thank them for their support and understanding throughout the investigation, especially Jolyon’s brother and sister who courageously gave evidence at the trial.”
Napier will be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court tomorrow (the sentence will be added into this article).
UPDATE FRIDAY – Deborah Ann Napier has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Jolyon Wray.
Napier will serve at least 13-and-a-half years in prison and therefore will not be eligible for parole until she is nearly 67-years-old.
She was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court this morning.
In passing sentence, Judge Dingemans said that given Napier’s age and the damage she has done to her health, she may never be released.
Following the sentence Bernadette Kearney, Senior Crown Prosecutor for Wessex said:
“Deborah and Jolyon’s relationship was a troubled one. Deborah Napier had accepted that she was responsible for Jolyon’s death and pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the first day of the trial. The Crown Prosecution Service was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to continue with the charge of murder, and the evidence was put to the jury. After a nine day trial the jury found Deborah Napier guilty of murder.
“We would like to thank Jolyon Wray’s family for their support throughout the prosecution and the witnesses who gave evidence at the trial. We hope that the conviction brings some closure for them.”