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I'VE HIT MY WIFE OVER THE HEAD WITH A HAMMER... Inquest hears of husband's tragedy call.

Byline: HELEN HUNT

A MAN accused of murder told an emergency telephone operator he had hit his wife over the head with a hammer, an inquest heard.

A hearing which opened into the death of Debra Anne Johnson, 43, of Ternway, Moreton, Wirral, also heard before the attack she had had a row with her husband, who had been served divorce papers a day earlier, about money.

The hearing heard that she slapped him across the face and he retaliated punching her and hitting her over the head with a hammer.

He then tried to smother her, it was said, before stabbing her in the neck with a screwdriver.

Coroner''s officer Donald Johnston read out the facts given to him to Wirral Coroner Christopher Johnson.

Mr Johnston said: "At 12.38pm on Thursday [February] 23, the deceased''s husband Neil Johnson telephoned the emergency services and told the operator he had hit his wife Debra over the head with a hammer. The operator kept him on the phone awaiting the arrival of the emergency services. "During the conversation he also stated that he had stabbed her with a screwdriver."

Police and paramedics found Mrs Johnson lying in the hallway with a "severe head injury".

The hearing was told Mrs Johnson was taken to Arrowe Park hospital but her condition did not improve and she was pronounced dead at 10.30am on February 24.

A pathologist gave the cause of death as "severe blunt force head injury".

Mr Johnston went on to say investigating officers told him that Mrs Johnson and her husband were in the process of getting divorced.

Mr Johnston said on February 23 they had carried out school runs with children and had both been to the bank before returning home where a row broke out over money.

He said: "They then argued about money before Debra slapped her husband across the face. In retaliation he punched her and then went and obtained a hammer with which he struck her twice. "She asked him for a tissue but he again struck her twice with the hammer, knocking her to the ground.

"He then attempted to smother her in his words 'to put her out of her misery''."

When he realised he had not smothered his wife, Mr Johnston said, he obtained a screwdriver and stabbed her.

He said: "He was interviewed on February 24. He reportedly made a full and frank admission of the facts of death."

The inquest was adjourned for a full hearing.

Neil Roy Johnson, 54, has been charged with murder.

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TRAGIC SCENE: The house in Ternway, Moreton
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 1, 2012
Words:434
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