In March 2016, Emma-Jayne Magson stabbed James Knight through the heart, lied to his brother and another man about what had happened, then sat and watched him die, lying to an emergency operator as she did so. One would have thought such callousness would have been enough to convict anyone of murder, and indeed it was.
The one half-decent thing Magson did in this terrible case was confess to her stepfather, who did the right thing and took her to the police.
Magson stood trial at Leicester Crown Court later in the year where she declined to take the stand. She was convicted by a jury of 6 men and 6 women. On November 7, she was given the mandatory life sentence with a tariff of 17 years. That should have been the end of the matter, but the tiresome subsequent proceedings have been reported here.
Following Magson’s conviction, her mother contacted Justice For Women/Centre For Women’s Justice. Don’t be fooled by the name, this outfit run by lawyer Harriet Wistrich and journalist Julie Bindel has nothing whatsoever to do with justice but is concerned primarily with enabling women to get away with murder, and its controllers are not too concerned with how they do it.
If you think that judgment is a tad uncharitable, check out the woman who is still their star catch. Like Magson, Emma Humphreys stabbed her lover through the heart. Trevor Armitage was lying on his back in a drunken stupor when she administered the fatal blow. She had previously trashed his home but foolishly he took her back.
On her unwarranted early release from prison, Humphreys went on to make a number of false rape allegations before taking an overdose – accidentally or otherwise – and dying aged just thirty in 1998.
In 2010, suburban housewife Sally Challen went to the home of her estranged husband with a hammer in her bag, and bashed his head in with it. She too was convicted of murder, but years later, psychiatrists invented a new mental affliction called dependent personality disorder. Yes, invented is the right word, these so-called mental disorders are voted into existence.
This led to Challen contacting Wistrich and Bindel, the latter visited her in prison where Challen “disclosed” to her, ie invented, a hitherto unreported history of abuse. This new so-called evidence was piggy backed onto the appeal based on this new mental disorder, and Challen’s murder conviction was quashed. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and walked free time served.
Sally Challen was one of the protesters outside the High Court when Magson filed her first appeal. This was successful but fortunately the Court Of Appeal ordered a retrial, and she was convicted again, this time at Birmingham Crown Court.
Her second and hopefully final appeal resulted in dismissal on Friday last week; the new grounds were imaginative, to say the least, they were based on the householder defence. This was originally concerned with burglars, but later cases have widened it. As James Knight clearly wasn’t a burglar and had in fact been living with Magson, this was frivolous in the extreme.
On June 8 this year, Wistrich was quoted by the Daily Telegraph:
“We have campaigned to extend this defence to circumstances where a victim of domestic violence responds disproportionately, often with a weapon, to defend herself from a man who has used violence towards her in the past.
We hope this appeal will help open the door to further statutory reform in this area and shine a light on the level of fear experienced by such victims.”
In the first instance, Magson wasn’t the victim; it is true her relationship with James Knight was toxic, but any violence was on both sides. She also had a history of violence against other people. James did not.
Further, and this is most important, after stabbing him fatally she lied about it, then sat and watched him die. Even if James had attacked her, indeed if he had been a stranger burgling her house, her behaviour after the stabbing would still have been mens rea for murder because whatever degree of force is used against an attacker, when the victim is no longer in danger, the counter-attack must cease, or in a case like this, medical assistance must be sought.
To date, there has been little reporting of the failure of Magson’s second appeal. Doubtless Wistrich and Bindel will report on it in due course as further evidence of misogyny in the British legal system. There are though many members of the fair sex in Leicester who would disagree, including the mother of James Knight and the two young daughters he will never see grow up.