A MARRIED couple argued about money and had "tension" over their finances, jurors in a murder trial at Cardiff Crown Court have been told.

The trial of David Maggs continued on Thursday with witness evidence from the victim's friends and relatives.

Mr Maggs, 71, is accused of murdering his wife, Linda, at their home in Pontypool last February. He admits killing her and has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but denies her murder.

At Cardiff Crown Court, prosecution barrister Michael Jones QC read out witness statements from Mrs Maggs' daughter-in-law, Lisa Minahan, who said the couple lived on separate floors of their house and didn't own a joint bank account.

Mr and Mrs Maggs went on holidays to the Bahamas and Las Vegas, but Mrs Minahan said her mother-in-law "had to pay her half", as she did when the couple went out for meals.

She said the defendant had been "stung" by his two ex-wives and Mrs Maggs believed her husband was "withholding" her mail.

In another statement, Kerry Jones, the daughter of the victim, said Mr Maggs' "behaviour with money was the final straw" for her mother, who approached a solicitor, seeking a divorce.


Friends of 74-year-old Mrs Maggs gave written evidence that the couple had argued about Mr Maggs' will and the future of their house.

Nadine Phillips, the younger sister of the defendant, said her brother and his wife had argued in the garden about money, and described the row as a "turning point" in their marriage.

When Mr Maggs suffered two heart attacks, Ms Phillips began caring for him.

"Despite the fact they were living separate lives, there was still a tremendous amount of tension in that house," she told the court.

Mrs Maggs was offered a "safe house" after her husband made a threat to kill her, but the witness recalled her saying she would "stay here until this house is sold".

The day before Mrs Maggs died, her husband was "settled" at home and had watched a "feel-good" film, Ms Phillips added.

Cross-examining the witness, defence barrister Sarah Jones QC drew attention to the defendant's medical history, including his suffering from epilepsy since childhood, and a more recent diagnosis of clinical depression.

Sometimes his seizures meant him "fully losing control" and being "confused around the house", she said.

Ms Phillips said her brother's prescription of anti-depressants had been increased before his wife's death, and she recalled urging him to "seek extra help".

When asked if she had ever seen Mr Maggs threaten violence or violence by proxy, his sister said "no, he wasn't like that - not at all".

The jury heard Mr Maggs suffered loss of independence after his heart attacks, and suffered a decreased appetite, as well as breaking his wrist and losing mobility in his arm.

Had this had an effect on her brother, Ms Jones asked the witness.

"It was bound to - the frustration and all that," she replied. "He definitely needed more support."

The trial before Judge Michael Fitton QC continues.