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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Gemma Bradley

Woman murdered her partner after argument 'about nothing'

A woman who murdered her partner after a drunken argument "about nothing" was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 17 years on Wednesday this week.

Joanne Moran, 43, who wore a black jumper in the dock and sat with her blonde hair tied back in a bun, showed no emotion as the jury's verdict was delivered after two hours and 53 minutes of deliberations. Jonathan Gibbons was knifed in the heart at the couple's home on Bridge Road in Litherland in the early hours of October 30 last year.

A previous trial heard on October 30, 2022, at about 4.45am, emergency services received a phone call from Moran reporting that a man had been stabbed and the caller was requesting assistance to attend their home on Bridge Road. Mr Gibbons and the defendant had been in a relationship since 2016 and had lived at the address for around four years, where they had been playing cards and drinking since 3pm the day before.

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Moran called the police after she stabbed Mr Gibbons using a small black handled knife following a drunken argument between the pair. She told officers “I just stabbed my partner” and repeatedly said “I’m sorry” immediately after.

Here is what The Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said to Moran before sending her to 17 years in jail.

“You have been convicted by the jury of the offence of murder. The victim of your offence was your partner at the time, Jonathan Gibbons.

“He was 50 at the time of his death, and you killed him on October 30, 2022 by stabbing him in the heart with a kitchen knife at the home you shared with him. You are now aged 43 years old, and you and Mr Gibbons had been in a relationship for about six years before that fateful night.

“For much of that time it was a relatively good relationship but in the early days it was marked by occasional episodes of violence where you attacked Mr Gibbons, scratching his face with your fingernails. Sometimes those attacks left marks on his face, and it is clear from the evidence given during the trial that others who knew you both thought that this was an unhealthy relationship for Jonathan Gibbons.

“There were times when he hit you, but you readily accepted that this might have been him simply responding to your attacks and in an effort to restrain you. Although there is this unpleasant background, I am not going to treat this as an aggravating factor, but it does suggest that you are someone who is prone to or capable of reacting violently to situations and out of proportion to something you perceive as provocation.

“The night of the October 29 and 30 was unremarkable, you and Mr Gibbons spent the night at home in the dining room playing cards and drinking. A silly argument about nothing in particular developed between you, with both exchanging hurtful insults.”

Judge Menary then referenced an argument which took place between another male who was in the home during the attack, and Mr Gibbons, during which time the victim told the witness he “would get him shot”. He said the witness “did not for a moment think that Mr Gibbons was serious when he said those things.”

He continued: “The evidence is clear, in the main, Mr Gibbons was a placid man who did not lose his temper often. That should have been the end of the matter.

“But for some inexplicable reason, you decided to go to the kitchen, pick up a sharp knife, come back through the dining room and into the hallway where you proceeded to stab your partner in the chest. This was clearly a deliberate act and the place you chose to stab him was bound to risk being a fatal injury.

“As the pathologist said, Mr Gibbons was dying from the time the knife entered his heart. It is clear from the victim statements I have heard from Mr Gibbon’s only son, Jay, that he was a deeply loved father and brother.

“It maybe that relationships within the family were strained in the recent years but I have no doubt that the thoughts expressed by Jay Gibbons reflect the feelings of the wider family members and friends of John. Their lives have been damaged irreparably by their loss.”

Judge Menary continued: “You have no previous convictions. I accept that in normal circumstances you are capable of being a kind, considerate and caring person.

“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 life on parole.

“I take as my starting point, the minimum term of 15 years. 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.

“The knife was not close to hand, and you chose to go to the kitchen to arm yourself this way. You then used it to cause serious harm.

“The public are rightly concerned about the prevalent use of knives. It is also an aggravating factor that this attack happened in the home, a place where Mr Gibbons was entitled to feel safe.

“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. I accept that you now deeply regret what you have done, and may well be at a complete loss to explain to yourself never mind others, why you have behaved in this way.

“But you must have known that you had an explosive temper, and were prone to use violence, especially in drink, though of course you had never used such serious violence in the past. There had been warnings in the past but it seems you were unwilling or unable to change.

“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 serve 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 then the parole board is satisfied that you no longer present a risk to the public. If and when you are released, you will be subject to license 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 Moran to stand. He said: “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 17 years minus the days you have already spent on remand.” Moran was then sent to the cells.


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