Wife gets life for 'dance' murder


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LaEscopeta
June 23, 2006, 02:25 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hampshire/5109808.stm

Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK

Wife gets life for 'dance' murder

Linda West had been married for nine weeks when she shot her husband
A woman who claimed she accidentally shot her husband dead while dancing to a Shania Twain song has been jailed for life for his murder.
Linda West, 49, said she was dancing drunkenly while holding a shotgun when it went off.

But the prosecution said she had loaded the weapon and deliberately shot Gregory West, 45, at their Southampton flat in May last year.

West was told she would have to serve a minimum of 16 years in prison.

She was found guilty by a jury last week after a two-and-a-half week trial at Winchester Crown Court.

In that short period of drunken madness you took the life of a man you cared for deeply and in doing so utterly ruined your life

Judge Guy Boney QC

The trial was a re-trial because the jury in the first case failed to reach a verdict on the murder charge and an alternative count of manslaughter, both of which West had denied.

Giving evidence at Winchester Crown Court during the trial, West said she and her husband of only nine weeks were drunk when he decided she should dance to the song with the shotgun.

She said she banged it on the floor at the abrupt end of the song so as to "take a bow" and the gun, which an expert found to have a faulty safety catch, went off.

The blast hit her husband, a marine engineer, in the heart, killing him instantly as he sat in a chair.

The prosecution said she had loaded her husband's double-barrelled gun and shot him at close range because of a heated row that evening.

Unplanned killing

Several neighbours reported hearing the argument and eventually the loud bang of the weapon firing.

Judge Guy Boney QC, told West: "Your account of a happy domestic evening cannot be true.

"That must be the reason why the jury disregarded your account of an erotic dance which ended in the discharge of the shotgun.

"This wasn't an arranged or planned killing, it occurred, if not on the spur of the moment, but with very little forethought on your behalf.

"In that short period of drunken madness you took the life of a man you cared for deeply and in doing so utterly ruined your life."

In a witness impact statement read to the court, Mr West's mother Clare described how her husband, David, who suffered from leukaemia had died six months after his son's killing.

She said her husband had felt responsible for what had happened because he had given the shotgun to his son.

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leadcounsel
June 23, 2006, 03:55 PM
Sad story of how people can make very poor decisions which affect so many lifes so badly.

Brings up an interesting question:

Setting the murder aside for the moment, let's discuss what other crime, if any, she could have been charged with.

Here is Colorado possession is generally considered having access to an item, or if it's within reach. It is also illegal to possess a gun while you're drunk.

Now, let's assume that you're sitting home drinking one night. You've got loaded guns on your person or in the next room at least. Are you breaking the law?

Was this woman breaking the law if she was intoxicated and toying with a loaded shotgun.

Whirlwind06
June 23, 2006, 04:01 PM
Now, let's assume that you're sitting home drinking one night. You've got loaded guns on your person or in the next room at least. Are you breaking the law?


You ask the same question about your car keys hanging on the hook by the door.

nplant
June 23, 2006, 04:57 PM
She certainly was breaking rules... rule 2 comes to mind immediately.

Slinger
June 23, 2006, 08:11 PM
...just a theory.

Watching a 49 year old, drunken woman dancing to a Shania Twain song.

Has any one considered the posibility of a self inflicted gunshot wound?:confused:

Car Knocker
June 23, 2006, 10:36 PM
In that short period of drunken madness you took the life of a man you cared for deeply and in doing so utterly ruined your life

And what about her husband's life? :rolleyes:

Snake Eyes
June 23, 2006, 10:41 PM
Watching a 49 year old, drunken woman dancing to a Shania Twain song.

Has any one considered the posibility of a self inflicted gunshot wound?

(Oh, man, I actually did LOL--rare for me!)

Consider it? I'm considering it now from just reading about it!!

mp510
June 24, 2006, 11:40 AM
Was this woman breaking the law if she was intoxicated and toying with a loaded shotgun.

Not sure. However, in UK if you are intoxicated and and have car keys on you (even if in your home and away from your vehicle), you can be convicted of DUI.

I wonder if her shotgun was licensed and registered?

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