Penelope Jackson, 65, has been charged with murdering David Jackson (both pictured), 78, at their bungalow in Berrow near Burnham-On-Sea

The daughter of a woman accused of murdering her husband saw the victim hold a knife to her mother’s throat more than 20 years ago, a jury heard.

Penelope Jackson, 66, stabbed 78-year-old David Jackson with a kitchen knife at their Somerset home in February.

She admits manslaughter but denies murder, claiming her husband was violent and coercively controlling.

Isabelle Potterton told Bristol Crown Court she saw the retired army officer be violent to her mother three times.

She said the incidents took place around 1997 or 1998, when the family had been living on a military base in Germany and after Mr Jackson’s son had taken his own life.

Berrow murder investigation

Mrs Potterton, now 31, is the defendant’s daughter from a previous marriage but Mr Jackson had raised her as his own from birth.

She described her father getting her out of bed and telling her to get a mug filled with chocolates she had got Mrs Jackson for Mother’s Day out of its hiding place in the airing cupboard.

“[He] smashed it in front of me,” she said.

The witness told the court her father would have known she had bought the gift for her mother “because he would have given me the money”.

On another occasion, Mrs Potterton recalled coming home from school and finding her father pushing her mother up against the wall, and her mother ending up with a bloody nose.

“After that my mum packed two suitcases and we went and stayed in a hotel that night, she said we were leaving,” Mrs Potterton said.

Berrow murder investigation launched

On the final occasion, Mrs Potterton recalled her father’s two daughters from his first marriage, his daughter-in-law, grandson and his mother visiting them in Germany.

She said: “We were all having a barbecue in the garden.

“I can remember mum saying something and everyone jumping up and running into the house.”

She said a few moments later, she saw Mrs Jackson up against a door on the top floor of the house with the victim holding a knife to her throat.

It took three of the guests to pull her father off her mother, she told the jury.

Mrs Potterton said she was unable to put the memories in order, and said she did not see another occasion when her father was violent towards the defendant.

Referring to the death of Mr Jackson’s son, Gavin, prosecutor Christopher Quinlan QC said: “Would it be fair to say it had a profound effect on your dad?”

Mrs Potterton replied: “Yes, it broke him.”

She agreed Mr Jackson had sought counselling over his son’s death and that the couple had appeared to be enjoying a happy retirement.

Mr Quinlan said: “You’ve heard your unit, if I can put it like that, described as a very tight one – the three of you against the world. Do you agree?”

“Yes,” Mrs Potterton replied.

She also recalled the Zoom dinner with her husband and her parents the evening of the killing, telling the jury her parents were bickering over who had forgotten to charge the iPad.

She said she ended the call but thought: “‘They will be absolutely fine’. I wasn’t upset or anything.”

Mrs Potterton called her mother at 8.08pm to check she was OK, the jury heard, with her mother saying she was “absolutely fine”.

Her mother would fatally stab her father just over an hour later.

The trial continues.

 
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