Derbyshire woman knifed partner to death at their home

Tonia Crabtree stabbed Craig Morse in the chest

Police are at the scene of an incident at Langley Mill

A 28-year-old woman has admitted killing her partner at their Derbyshire home.

Tonia Crabtree pleaded guilty to manslaughter when she appeared in person from custody at Derby Crown Court.

A more serious charge of murder, which she was originally charged with and earlier pleaded not guilty to, was dropped on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to convince a jury that she intended to kill or cause really serious harm to Craig Morse.

Crabtree inflicted a single fatal stab wound to the chest of her 33-year-old partner during a struggle at their flat in Langley Mill, on April 3.

Officers were called to Frost Avenue at around 2am, where they found him injured.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The father and uncle of Mr Morse were in the courtroom to hear Crabtree’s guilty plea, as were members of her family.

She too appeared in person from HMP Foston Hall where she has been in custody since her arrest in April.

Adrian Langdale QC, prosecuting, said: “This is a difficult case factually and evidentially which the crown has had a chance to consider in depth.

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“There is evidence of previous events of domestic violence between the two sides. It is not one way, it is very much both ways.

“There is also evidence that in the days leading up to the incident – nine or 10 days before – there was another incident of self harm where a knife was produced by the defendant in order to cut herself which led to the deceased trying to get the knife off her and him receiving a cut to his finger.

“There is also toxicology evidence that both sides were heavily in drink (on the night Mr Morse died) and there is also evidence from other witnesses, who were at the property, of violence in the kitchen.

“She went to get a razor blade, but they had been removed by the deceased.

“And there is also evidence from Dr Guy Ruttey (a home office pathologist) that minimal force was used to cause the wound.

“The deceased's father and uncle are in court and I am very, very keen that victim impact statements are taken so will need time for that to take place.”

Judge Nirmal Shant QC, Honorary Recorder of Derby, adjourned Crabtree’s sentence until September 30, giving the hearing a half-day estimate.

Remanding her into custody until that date she said: “At some stage during the struggle she (Crabtree) jabbed out with the knife and so there must be an acceptance it was being held out in front of her and he must have been in front of her to have the wound in his chest.”

At the time of the stabbing, police cordoned off the property for a number of hours as detectives and forensics teams carried out their investigations.