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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Adam Everett

Murderer Emma Walsh was 'controlling', 'jealous' and made boyfriend's life a 'misery'

A "controlling" woman made her boyfriend's life an "utter misery" before she murdered him.

The Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said Emma Walsh had an "irrational, extreme jealousy" as he sentenced her to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years for the murder of Gary Walsh today, Monday. She was found unanimously guilty by a jury last week, having stabbed the 36-year-old - from Prescot - in the heart at her home on Lavan Close in Everton of April 10 this year following a night in the pub.

The city's top judge also told the 31-year-old killer that she had a "desire to dominate his life" and "flew into a violent and furious rage" for little to no reason. These are Judge Menary's sentencing remarks in full.

READ MORE: Murderer jailed for 18 years for killing boyfriend after night in the pub

He told Walsh: "Emma Walsh, you have been convicted by the jury of the offence of murder. The victim of your offence was your partner at the time, Gary Morgan. You killed him on the night of April 10 2022 by stabbing him in the heart with a kitchen knife at the home you shared with your father at 8 Lavan Close, Everton.

"You are now 31 years of age, and at the time of his death Gary Morgan was aged 36. You and he had been in a relationship for about a year before that fatal night. It began well enough, and there will have been good times. But for much of its existence, it was a tempestuous relationship marked by frequent, unpleasant arguments - often at times when you were under the influence of alcohol. I have no doubt that many of these were the result of your extreme, irrational jealousy and your consequent desire to dominate Gary Morgan's life and to restrict his movements.

"Mr Morgan was one of six brothers and, with their parents Jimmy and Sandra, he was part of a large extended family. It is clear that Gary was deeply loved by all. He ran a successful landscaping business with his brother and often lived at home with his parents. Some of his customers gave evidence during the trial, and it is obvious that he was a skilled, hard-working and conscientious tradesman who has a real concern to ensure he did a good job. He has been described as a kind, quiet and considerate man, as I am sure he was. Alcohol might have been a problem for him in the past. It certainly was when he was with you.

"He was delighted and excited when he first met you and the relationship began. But the text messages recovered by the police as part of their investigation show that within a relatively short time, you were making his life a misery. As was alleged by the prosecution in the trial, the evidence clearly demonstrates that for little or no reason - but typically when you were drunk - you temper explodes, and Gary Morgan was often on the receiving end. It only took a message on his phone or looking the wrong way at another woman - or, as you saw it, not giving you enough attention - for you to fly into a furious and violent rage.

"The evidence is clear, and I so find over the course of that 12 months you regularly abused him by your controlling and coercive behaviour - including of many occasions using violence against him. This would typically be with your fists to his face, causing black eyes, or picking up an implement such as a spirit level or a rake that was nearby to hit him about the head and body. In the past, you have also repeatedly bit him to the arms, leg and body and on one occasion you stabbed at him with a butter knife - cutting his cheek.

"I have no difficulty in concluding that you behaved in this way based on the evidence the jury heard, including the evidence from two former partners who described very similar violence. I emphasise, I am not sentencing you for what you have done to two formers partners in the past. These events might be very relevant to the assessment of the risk you pose to the public in the future, but I have regard to them only to the extent that they reinforce my view that - contrary to the lies you told in the trial - Gary Morgan was undoubtedly the victim of domestic violence and you alone, or to a very substantial degree, were the violently controlling partner. Whatever happened in Boaler Street in February 2022, it was behaviour out of character for Gary Morgan, and there is no evidence that you suffered any significant injury in this incident.

"It is not possible for me to know why you behaved as you did during the relationship or on the night of April 10. It may have had something to do with your childhood experiences, or more likely your chronic problems with alcohol and drugs. It seems likely that you have had issues with substance abuse for many years and spent most of your time under the influence of one substance or another.

"April 10 2022 was a perfectly ordinary day. You and Gary Morgan spent the afternoon and evening in the local pub. On arriving home, when both of you were drunk, some sort of argument developed and - as was your habit - you became violent. You picked up a knife and attacked your partner. The pathology evidence is clear, that you were determined to stab him and he must have made some effort to fight you off. The likely scenario is that you stabbed at him once or twice, causing the small wound near his neck and the more serious wound to his arm, before stabbing him in the chest. I accept that the horror of what you had just done may well have dawned on you soon after the stabbing, and you called the emergency services. But at that stage, and later when interviewed, you gave deliberately false accounts of how Mr Morgan had come by his injuries. It wasn't until you were confronted with the medical evidence that you accepted responsibility for the stabbing, but insisted then and during the trial that your actions were in self-defence. I reject that suggestion, as did the jury. The reality is that Gary Morgan posed no threat to you at all.

"It is a tragic irony that so many members of his family, and Gary Morgan himself in his text messages to you, predicted that if he stayed with you - a woman he so obviously loved - you would end up killing him.

"I have read the moving victim statement prepared by Sandra, his mother. I have no doubt that the thoughts expressed there reflect the feelings of the wider family, setting out as it does the impact on their lives of the loss of their cherished loved one. Their lives have been damaged irreparably by this loss.

"You might have expressed concern for Gary Morgan on the night. It might be that you regretted what you had done, as no doubt you did every other time you caused him harm. But I am not persuaded that you feel or have expressed any genuine remorse for what you have done.

"For the offence of murder, I must pass a sentence of imprisonment for life. In addition, I must fix the minimum term which you will serve before you are even considered for release on parole. I take as my starting point the minimum term of 15 years identified in paragraph five of schedule 21 to the Sentencing Act 2020.

"Though not listed in paragraph nine of the schedule, there are in my judgement a number of aggravating features which operate to increase that starting point. The fact that you used a particularly dangerous weapon, a knife, to cause the death is a significant aggravating feature. I accept that it is likely that you picked up this knife because it was close at hand, but you chose to arm yourself in this way - as you have done in the past - and used it to cause serious harm. The public are rightly concerned about the prevalent use of knifes. The second particularly aggravating feature is that face that this fatal attack was part of a pattern of serious domestic abuse, including violence, spanning most of the year you and Mr Morgan were together. You have previous convictions, but none for serious violence and I do not regard them as relevant to this sentencing exercise.

"As to mitigating factors, I accept that your intention probably was to cause grievous bodily harm rather than to kill and the attack was not planned or premeditated. You plainly have some underlying issues with your mental health and have been receiving treatment in the past for depress and anxiety, but you were not good at regularly taking what medication you had and the real problems for you were your addictions. But there is no evidence that these had any impact on your culpability. You knew full well that you had an explosive temper and were prone to use implements to cause harm. There had been plenty of warnings in the past, but you were unwilling or unable to change.

"For obvious reasons, it is not appropriate for me to consider making any order for compensation in this case. However, the statutory surcharge provisions do apply and so I direct that the order is drawn up accordingly.

"It is important that you and the public understand that the minimum term which I am about to impose is the minimum period which you will service in prison before you are entitled to apply for parole. When you apply for parole, there is no guarantee that you will be released immediately or ever. Whether and when you are released will be determined by the parole board, and you will only be released when the parole board is satisfied hat you no longer present a risk to the public. If and when you are released, you will be subject to licence conditions which will continue for the rest of your life. If you breach those conditions, you may be recalled to serve some or all of what remains of your life sentence."

Judge Menary then asked Walsh to stand up and told her: "The sentence is, therefore, one of life imprisonment.

"I'm satisfied that the aggravating features of this case outweigh the mitigation available to you, and so the minimum term will be 18 years - from which must be deducted 190 days which you have spent on remand for these offences, making a final minimum term of 17 years and 175 days."

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