A woman stabbed to death by her husband at their Aylesbury home slept with a knife under her pillow for her own safety, a jury heard.
Robert Dunson, 54, is on trial for murder after it is alleged he drank a litre of brandy and plunged a samurai sword and kitchen knife into his wife Jean’s throat and chest after she had asked him for a divorce.
He has admitted manslaughter, saying he acted in self defence.
Family friend and defence witness Leigh Smith told jurors at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday that Mrs Dunson had confided in her about the drastic security measure since requesting a divorce after learning her husband had a 14-year-old love child.
Despite being interviewed by police near the time of the killing, learning about the nature of the incident in the following weeks and sitting in the public gallery for the first days of the trial, Mrs Smith only raised the matter very recently.
She said she remembered it because of ‘a dream’.
Asked what Mrs Dunson had told her, she replied: “She slept with a knife under her pillow.
“I said I thought it was a bit extreme. She said it meant she felt safe. It’s something I remembered recently.”
Prosecutor Jonathan Kirk QC challenged her account, saying: “You were asked about your meeting (with Jean Dunson) on January 15, 2011, in some detail by police, when you knew this was about a stabbing, and you made no mention of that.
“You made no mention of it to the police in any of the conversations you had with them afterwards. This case has been listed for trial before and you made no mention of this then. In the first three days of this trial you made no mention of this fact to anybody, despite hearing this case was about a stabbing.
“Why, suddenly, now, have you just remembered?”
She replied: “I don’t know. It’s just something that has been coming up when I’ve been sleeping.”
Mr Kirk asked: “So while you have been sleeping you have been dreaming about it?”
“Yes,” replied the witness.
Mrs Smith admitted she had sympathy for the defendant, as she and her husband Donald, a reverend in Aylesbury, had been friends with the couple.
Under re-examination by Benjamin Aina QC, defending, she insisted she could remember the original conversation.
“Can you think of any reason why you would think you would have forgotten about that part of the conversation?” he asked.
She replied: “It has been very difficult for me. I have been through quite a lot of trauma.”
Emergency services were called to the Dunson’s home, in Bicester Road in the early morning of May 4 last year.
They found Mrs Dunson slumped on the floor beside her blood-soaked bed and with a phone dangling beside her.She had been stabbed around 10 times and a kitchen knife had snapped off in her body.