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Bride's evidence disputed in court.

Byline: By Guy Basnett

Woman's account of stabbing challenged

A bride who told a jury of her desperate struggle to stop a wedding guest stabbing her brother, was not even in the room at the time, it was claimed yesterday.

Elaine Corbitt told a jury at Newcastle Crown Court how she fought to stop Geoffrey Hearn from stabbing her brother, Jason Howard, at her wedding reception.

But during her cross-examination on the witness stand it was claimed she was `not present' when her brother was stabbed to death.

Hearn, 29, of Northmoor Road, Walkergate, denies murdering Mr Howard, 34, during a party to celebrate Elaine and Andy Corbitt's wedding in Rock, Northumberland. He has admitted manslaughter following the stabbing, in the early hours of January 9.

Yesterday, Mrs Corbitt, of Rock Farmhouse, Rock, told the jury how she grappled with Hearn as he tried to stab her brother with a kitchen knife.

She said: "I saw the knife in his hand. I could see the determination on his face. "He had his arm raised. He was saying `I'm going to get him', `I'm going to kill him', `I'm going to do him'."

She told the jury she reacted by grabbing hold of Hearn's wrists.

She said: "I started screaming for help. I was aware of my brother behind me. I was still struggling with Geoff, screaming for help.

"Geoff went over me and stabbed Jason in the back. He took a lunge, reached over and stabbed him."

The court heard how Mr Howard, who has an 11-year-old daughter, and travelled up from Milton Keynes for the wedding, bled to death from a severed artery in his arm.

But Paul Sloan QC, defending, challenged Mrs Corbitt's view of events, suggesting she was not present when her brother was stabbed, but arrived at the scene later.

He said: "I have to suggest to you that the wound could not have occurred in the way that you described. One explanation is that you simply did not see this at all."

She replied: "I was there."

Mr Sloan continued: "Indeed, you were to say afterwards that night that you were not present when Jason was stabbed." She replied: "No, I did not say that. I said I was not there when the argument kicked off."

The jury later heard evidence from ambulance technician Kevin Parkin, who was with Mrs Corbitt in the ambulance that rushed her brother to hospital. Mr Parkin said: "I asked her if she was present when the incident had occurred and she said `No', she was upstairs.

"She said she had heard raised voices. She said she came downstairs to investigate what had been going on and she found her brother in the kitchen. He had been stabbed."

The jury also heard Hearn told police he had not meant to stab Mr Howard, but picked up the knife when he became aggressive. In interview he said: "I just wanted to keep him away. He burst through the door on to the knife."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 22, 2005
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