A RETIRED accountant who stabbed his wife to death while she lay in bed has been jailed for life.

David Maggs, 71, will serve at least 20 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole after a jury found him guilty of murder.

The pensioner admitted killing Linda Minahan at their home in Sebastopol, Pontypool, on February 6 last year.

But said he “blanked out” during the attack and entered a guilty plea to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

South Wales Argus:

David Maggs

Judge Michael Fitton QC told Maggs: “Linda was described variously as kind, warm, big-hearted, a loving mother and grandmother who loved dancing and socialising.

  • Read the emotional victim impact statement made by Linda’s son earlier today here

“She loved her family most of all and loved being with them, cooking for them, hosting them, caring for them and sharing her love with them.

“Her death was a tragic, brutal and appallingly cruel event.”South Wales Argus:

Linda Minahan

He added: “Your marriage, as we know, turned sour.

“Your conduct, as described in her divorce petition, was said to have been deeply unpleasant to her.

Linda died in pain and terror

“She described you as being rude, offensive and verbally abusive to her.

“She said there was a terrible atmosphere in the house and you were making her feel second class.

South Wales Argus:

David Maggs arriving at Cardiff Crown Court during his trial. Image: Athena Picture Agency

“I see you as a bitter and unpleasant man, bitter and angry with life.

“She died in pain and terror.”

The couple, who had been together for 28 years and married for 18 years, were going through a divorce at the time and were living separate lives under the same roof.

The jury heard from a number witnesses who described how Maggs had become obsessed with the idea of his estranged 74-year-old wife benefiting unreasonably from the split.

They also heard evidence of how he would belittle her and call her “think and stupid”.

A number of people, including an estate agent who had come to value their property and a housing officer, said they had heard him make threats to “stab” or “kill” his wife.

Prosecutor Michael Jones QC told Cardiff Crown Court that just after 9am that morning, Maggs took two kitchen knives upstairs to his wife’s bedroom and “brutally murdered her”.

Miss Minahan was stabbed 15 times while she was still in bed.

This is a man who will die in prison

The defendant, who was going through his third divorce, killed her a month before their separation was due to be finalised.

The victim suffered injuries to her neck, chest, stomach and arms before Maggs called 999 to say: “I have just killed the wife.”

That emergency call was played to the jury during which he told the operator: “I just lost it, can you please come out, just help me… Um, God help me.”

Body cam footage of him being arrested by police inside the marital home captured him telling officers: “I’ve just had enough. She tried to steal two houses from me, two houses.”

Further comments made by the defendant in Ystrad Mynach police station, included him saying: “Thirty years I’ve been married to her and she doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut, so I topped her.”

Psychiatrist Dr Thomas Wynne told the court he did not think Maggs was suffering from depression.

However, another psychiatrist, Dr Nuwan Galappathie, told the jury: “In my opinion, the degree of his impairment due to depression is significant.

“This is a case where there are clear and significant mental health problems. In my opinion, this is a case of diminished responsibility.”

Sarah Jones, QC, mitigating, said: “This is a man who will die in prison.”

She added: “His last words to me were, ‘Will you tell them how sorry I am? I wish it had never happened.'”