Wife who snapped after 20 years of nagging escapes murder charge
A WOMAN stabbed her nagging partner to death after more than 20 years of "mental torture", a court heard yesterday.
Linda McGhee, 53, was originally charged with murdering her partner, but yesterday a jury accepted she was at her wits' end when she killed him.
They found her guilty of the lesser crime of culpable homicide and rejected the Crown's claim that she had murdered him as he lay sleeping. The High Court in Glasgow heard that McGhee's partner, Ian Tannock, 48, constantly moaned and nagged at her.
He even complained after she scrimped and saved to send them both on a once-in-a-lifetime cruise to Egypt.
Throughout the holiday, Mr Tannock moaned because he could not get his favourite drink, Tennent's lager, on the luxury liner and had to consume foreign beer instead.
The court was also told that McGhee, a carer employed by Inverclyde Council, even resorted to playing her Walkman in the house to drown out his constant whining.
McGhee finally snapped on the night of 7 March, 2006, when she plunged a knife into Mr Tannock's neck during a row at their home in Gourock.
She was convicted of killing Mr Tannock by striking him on the neck with a knife. She was also found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by washing bloodstained clothing and trying to concoct a false alibi.
Dr Julie McAdam, a pathologist, told the court that Mr Tannock would have died within minutes.
She said that the knife almost went clean through his neck, cutting the carotid artery, back of the throat and windpipe. But she added that the blow would only have required mild force.
Dr Margaret Morrison, a psychiatrist, told that court that McGhee described her life with Mr Tannock as "mental torture".
Dr Morrison said: "She told me he was always nagging and moaning at her."
And Dr Morrison revealed that McGhee had sought medical help going back more than 20 years to deal with the stress this caused her and had taken an overdose on a number of occasions. Dr Morrison added: "The medical records show the stress was getting worse."
Donald Findlay, QC, the defence counsel, asked: "If someone can't cope, then what are the dangers?" Dr Morrison replied: "If someone is so stressed, they can act in a harmful way towards themselves or others." Dr Morrison added this behaviour would be totally out of character.
Agnes Neilson, a friend of McGhee, told the court that she had witnessed Mr Tannock shouting and bawling at his partner. She said she had been laughing and joking in the garden over a coffee with McGhee.
But when Mr Tannock appeared, Mrs Neilson said: "She changed from a joyful girl to a girl who started shaking and asked me to go. I could still hear him shouting as I was leaving."
Paul Fleming, a former neighbour, said he often heard Mr Tannock berating his wife and added that on occasions he found her in the garden crying. He continued: "She would often come into my flat and chat to me until Ian was sleeping and then go back upstairs."
Judge Lord Kinclaven remanded McGhee in custody and deferred sentence until next month for background reports.
At an earlier court appearance, McGhee's son, Graeme Brabson, 31, of Greenock, was ordered to perform 240 hours' community service and two years' probation after admitting attempting to defeat the ends of justice by removing the knife from Mr Tannock's body and attempting to dispose of it.