Murder suspect admits killing wife but denies murder

Barnstaple builder Neil Langmead gives evidence in his defence

A DOUBLE murder suspect has told a jury that he DID kill his wife.

Barnstaple builder Neil Langmead said that he did not want to kill 35-year-old mum of two Debbie Langmead but “it was either her or me”.

Langmead, 41, is accused of murdering Mrs Langmead and her friend Donna St John before setting fire to Mrs Langmead’s rented home in Fort Mead Close in August last year.

Langmead, of Convent Close, denies arson and two counts of murder and wept before jurors as he gave the first evidence in his defence at Exeter Crown Court yesterday (Monday).

He claims that Mrs Langmead had a furious catfight with Ms St John, also 35, after the three of them had gone back to her home after a night out.

He told the court that the fight between the two women escalated and that Mrs Langmead grabbed a kitchen knife from a block and started attacking her friend.

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The defendant said he intervened and slapped his former partner three or four times to “try to stop her” as he tried to protect Ms St John.

He claimed Mrs Langmead then turned on him and stabbed him up to seven times before he too grabbed a knife and stabbed her back.

He told the jury: “I can’t remember how many times I stabbed her. It was either her or me. I did not want to kill her.”

Langmead went on to say he could recall very little after the knife attack.

He said he could not recall sexually mutilating Mrs Langmead after she was dead and denied stabbing himself with the knife or being responsible for murdering the two women.

He said he could not remember trying to hang himself from the loft hatch with a dressing gown cord.

The prosecution say that Langmead was obsessed and controlling towards his wife who had left him a few weeks earlier.

The Crown said he stabbed both women to death in the kitchen before setting fire to the house and then trying to hang himself in a failed suicide bid.

In cross examination Langmead admitted he was obsessed with his estranged wife but denied wanting to control her and run his life and house “in the way he dictated”.

He admitted that he hounded Mrs Langmead with text messages and phone calls when she had left him five times before and pestered her until she gave in.

He told defence barrister Martin Meeke QC, that he “never struck Debbie Langmead in the years they lived together or threatened her with violence”.

Langmead is continuing to give evidence and the trial continues.

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