A man who stabbed his wife almost 70 times with two knives has admitted killing her on the first day of his trial but denies her murder.

Harry Turner maintains he ‘lost control’ when his wife, Sally, told him ‘he would never see the girls’ again after they separated following her affair with a taxi driver, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

The 55-year-old delivered blows so powerful that it bent the blade on one of the knives and he says he has no recollection of stabbing her partner in her daughter’s County Durham home.

Craig Hassall KC, prosecuting, said the couple’s relationship had broken down following her affair with a taxi driver who used to transport their disabled granddaughter to school.

He said: “The marriage was breaking down and both sides blamed the other for the breakdown. Harry correctly believed Sally was having an affair and would check her phone.”

The Northern Echo: Sally TurnerSally Turner

The barrister told jurors that there is no eyewitness account of the fatal stabbing or what was said in the lead-up to her killing but a neighbour heard two loud screams.

Mr Hassall said: “One blow had been delivered with such force that bent the knife blade rendering it useless as a weapon.”

Mrs Turner suffered 78 wounds, including defence injuries, from at least 68 knife blows with the deepest being 11cm deep and one was so powerful that it broke her shoulder blade while another broke one of her ribs.

A post-mortem showed that she had suffered wounds to both lungs, kidney, and spleen as well as a severed jugular.

The Northern Echo: Police at the scene of the alleged murder.Police at the scene of the alleged murder.

Mr Hassall said the postman had set up a ‘stalker’ social media account and told work colleagues to ‘watch this space, it’s going to end badly’ as he struggled with depression following the marital breakdown.

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He said the couple were the legal guardians of Mrs Turner’s two grandchildren and had been having amicable conversations in the days leading up to her death in June 2022 at her daughter's home on Cuthbert Avenue, Durham.

Jurors heard how the defendant was arrested by police while he had dried blood on his arm and blood spatter on his shoes.

Turner, of Tiree Close, Brandon, County Durham, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering his estranged wife.

The trial continues.