A WOMAN who stabbed her “controlling” and “abusive” father to death with a kitchen knife has been found not guilty of murder.

Jessica Breeze plunged the blade into his back after a violent argument in their Middlesbrough home last June.

A jury also cleared her of a lesser charge of the manslaughter of Colin Brady.

As the verdict was read out, the 20-year-old sobbed in the dock as friends and family burst into tears in the public gallery at Teesside Crown Court.

Speaking outside the court, the clearly relieved nursery worker said her family and friends had helped get her through the seven-month ordeal.

When asked how she felt now, she replied: “I dunno, just shocked, I dunno – it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

Miss Breeze’s solicitor Sean Grainger said in a statement: “The jury accepted she was acting in lawful self-defence of herself and her mother when under a sustained and violent attack by her father.

“Further, whilst Jessica was brought up in a highly toxic home environment where she and her mother were regularly subject to extreme physical and emotional abuse by her father, Jessica wishes to make it clear she loved her father, she still does and wishes he was still here.

“She now wishes to rebuild her life, get back to work and move on from the seven-month ordeal she has endured since her arrest.”

The prosecution had claimed that Miss Breeze was guilty of murder as she had stabbed her father in the back as he attempted to leave the family home following the violent argument.

Jurors heard how her father had punched her several times before threatening to kill the pair.

Mr Brady, who had a long history of violence and domestic abuse, suffered a single, fatal stab wound to his back which pierced his lung.

However, the jurors believed Miss Breeze must have acted in self-defence after suffering years of abuse at the hands of her father.

During the trial, consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Patrick Quinn told jurors that he believed that mother and daughter lived in a state of “fear, dread and anxiety” in their daily dealings with Colin Brady in the “toxic environment” of their home.

Simon Russell Flint QC, defending Breeze, had asked the 20-year-old whether he had threatened to kill them before. The nursery worker replied: “This time it was different, he has said he was going to kill us before but this time there was something absolutely different – I had never seen him like that before.”

CCTV footage of Miss Breeze while she was in a Cleveland Police custody suite was shown to jurors during the trial.

As officers broke the news to her, the distraught nursery worker was heard to say: “I didn’t mean to do it; I would kill myself if I did. He was trying to kill my mum, so what was I supposed to do.”

Members of Mr Brady’s family wept in court as she was cleared of his murder.