Woman accused of murdering Wakefield husband tells court: 'He would beat me as I slept'

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A woman accused of murdering her husband by stabbing him through the heart at their Wakefield home says he would dish out regular drunken beatings while she slept.

Lisa Ellwood is accused of using a kitchen knife to bludgeon 42-year-old Ryan Ellwood to death in their kitchen after a night out drinking in August last year.

She denies murder and is standing trial at Leeds Crown Court. The 40-year-old says she has no recollection of inflicting the single stab wound which pierced Ryan's lung, rib and the aorta area of his heart.

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The court had previously heard that their relationship was punctuated with violence triggered by both of them at different times.

Giving evidence, Ellwood said by the time of Ryan's death she had become a "functioning alcoholic" due to anxiety and depression. She said she would buys cans of mixed alcoholic drinks daily before work and put them in a Costa coffee cup to disguise them.

Fighting back tears, she described their marriage as being "non existent" at that point, telling the court that Ryan cheated on her. In one incident she followed him to The Strafford Arms pub in Wakefield city centre and "caught him" with another woman.

In November 2022, she said they had been in Reflex in Wakefield and when she returned from the toilet, Ryan was with another woman. She said she left without saying anything, but Ryan noticed and followed her.

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Once outside, she said he grabbed her by the hair and punched her, causing her to fall and strike her head on the pavement, knocking her unconscious. An ambulance was called and Ryan was arrested.

Prior to that, she claimed Ryan would regularly get drunk and then attack her while she slept. She said: "It would be a regular thing with Ryan. I would be woken either by being choked or punched for no reason.

"He would never remember beating me. It's difficult to go through something like that, waking up with cuts and bruises and your husband saying 'I don't remember doing that'."

Ryan Ellwood was stabbed through the heart at his home on Greenwood Court, Agbrigg. His wife Lisa denied his murder. (pics by WYP / Google Maps)Ryan Ellwood was stabbed through the heart at his home on Greenwood Court, Agbrigg. His wife Lisa denied his murder. (pics by WYP / Google Maps)
Ryan Ellwood was stabbed through the heart at his home on Greenwood Court, Agbrigg. His wife Lisa denied his murder. (pics by WYP / Google Maps) | WYP / Google Maps

Prior to his death, she said she was "walking on egg shells" and said: "I was always terrified, I just never knew what was going to set it off."

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Despite that, she said she continued to love Ryan and added: "No matter how bad my life would be with him, it would be worse without him."

On the evening of August 29 last year, the couple had been drinking in Wakefield city centre but got into an argument that Lisa Ellwood said she can't recall.

When they got home, the argument resumed in the kitchen and she then picked up a kitchen knife and attacked him, inflicting a single fatal stab wound, the Crown suggests.

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She rang 999 and and told the operator that she simply came home and found him injured. Paramedics were unable to save Ryan and he was pronounced dead at 11.45pm that night. The trial continues and is expected to last until next week.