James Coutts, of Linenhall Chambers was led by Michael Jones QC CPS Cardiff,  in the prosecution of Russell Marsh for the murder of his ex-wife in a house where their four young sons were sleeping.

His ex-wife had ended their nine year relationship and developed feelings for another man. The defendant found out about this, concocted a lie to leave his night shift early and return to the home. There he waited until she was alone in the house with her four young children, before entering, arming himself with a kitchen knife and going on to mutilate her face and arms in an upstairs bedroom. Following the horrific disfigurement, he strangled her, covered her body with clothes and locked the bedroom door before taking the children from the house. He went on to dispose of the knife and all mobile telephones before handing himself in to the police saying that he had done something ‘horrible’ to his wife.

This was an emotional case for all involved as the defence pursued at trial was that she had mutilated herself because the defendant would not engage in sado-masochistic sexual intercourse with her. It involved derogatory assertions about her character and her capabilities as a mother.

The defendant admitted manslaughter during the course of giving evidence, but denied any intention to kill or cause serious injury. The jury took less than 2 hours to convict the defendant of murder and at an emotional sentencing hearing, the defendant was sentenced to Life Imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years in custody.