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Woman accused of scissor stab murder 'had a violent past'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

Truro Court

A woman from Cornwall accused of murdering her fourth husband with scissors after he refused to tidy up had a history of violence against her children and former partners, members of her family told a court.

Sandra Clinch, 49, was said to have been overcome with a "red mist" which "started and stopped with the clicking of fingers" at various points during her life, with victims – including her children – being driven to flee the home.

On one occasion, she told her son, who was 13 at the time, to lie to his school about the injuries she inflicted upon him. She left scarring to his temple when she hit him with a porcelain bowl.

Truro Crown Court heard mother-of-five Clinch had violently abused her former partners, as well as at least one of her children when they were just a few months old.

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Clinch, of Caradon Heights in Darite, Liskeard, denies one charge of murdering Alan Clinch, 48, on May 13 this year.

Adrian Knibbs, Clinch's youngest son and the third of her five children, told the jury that his mother would punch, kick and scratch him and his siblings if they misbehaved.

He said: "There were sometimes objects involved, general household items. She would throw them."

Describing one incident, Mr Knibbs, now 28, said: "My mum hit me with a porcelain bowl because I hadn't dried up the dishes properly. It cut my head."

Earlier this week, the court was told that Clinch said she had thrown brand new scissors at her fourth husband, an American car enthusiast, two hours before their friends were due to arrive for Sunday lunch at their home in Cornwall.

She immediately called 999 after her husband collapsed in a pool of blood, the court heard. An excerpt from the call was played to the jury in which Clinch could be heard hysterically pleading for medical help to save her husband.

She later told police Mr Clinch had told her to "shut up" when she tried to tidy their cottage.

Mr Clinch died from a single wound to the chest, caused by scissors that had been plunged four to five inches into his body, between two ribs. Experts later said it was "extremely unlikely" that simply throwing the scissors would do enough to penetrate Mr Clinch's clothing – a rugby shirt over a T-shirt – and allow them to be embedded fatally in his chest.

The trial continues today when Clinch is expected to begin her defence.

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