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Murder accused was once named Chronicle Mum of the Year; AWARD FOLLOWED FAMILY TRAGEDY.

Byline: ROB KENNEDY Court Reporter @ChronicleCourt

A WOMAN accused of murdering her husband was a former Mum of the Year award winner who told her sister of watching her tragic two-year-old daughter "take her last breath", a court heard.

Helena Karine Atay, known as Karine, tried in vain to save daughter Sophie in 2010 after she was struck down with cancer - raising large sums but not in time to get the treatment she needed in America.

Giving evidence at her trial, where she denies murdering Atakan Atay, her sister Elaine Love told jurors Atay had struggled to deal with Sophie's death and was drinking heavily.

Mrs Love also said Atay - who won the Chronicle's Mum of the Year contest after losing her daughter - had told her Atakan had been violent and abusive to her sibling during what she called their "toxic" relationship.

He would about her, she was would all the Karine Elaine Mrs Love told Newcastle Crown Court she had never seen Atakan being physically violent towards Atay but was asked if she was aware from Atay there had been violence.

She replied: "Very much so, from the beginning of the relationship."

Asked if she had seen Atakan verbally abuse her sister, she said: "Yes often.

"He would say things like 'you are lazy', 'you are good for nothing', 'you are fat', ' 'you're ugly'.

"Once I was there and there was an advert for a sofa and there was a sloth and he said, 'Look, Karine it's you, isn't it?.

"I said, 'That's not very nice, Atakan, you should not be like that.' "Karine said, 'He does it all the time.' "He said, 'But it's true, isn't it, Karine?'." Mrs Love also claimed Atakan had made comments to her about Atay and would belittle her.

"He would moan about her, saying she was lazy and didn't do housework," she said.

"He would belittle her all the time.

"I didn't like to listen to that because obviously I would not agree with him."

She added: "I said they should not be together.

"I told him it was clear he and Karine were very unhappy and should split up.

moan saying lazy, and belittle her time Atay's sister Love "I told Karine the same.

"I felt it was a toxic relationship and I felt she deserved better than that." Mrs Love said Atay did "everything" to try to help Sophie and said she's "so proud" that the money she raised was used to fund help for five children to go to America for life-saving treatment, given that Sophie died before the funds could be used to help her.

She added that Atay was drinking heavily after Sophie's death.

When she spoke to her about it, she said Atay told her: "Elaine, until you have held your child and watched them take their last breath and slept with their cold lifeless body and then bathed and clothed them in the morning, then handed their body over to the undertaker's, then please don't judge me."

Mrs Love told the court: "I was dumbfounded and thought, 'How can I judge anybody?'."

She went on to tell jurors there was a memory box for Sophie in Atay's bedroom, which contained items including Sophie's dummy, a yellow duck she held all the time, "Sophie's diamond" made from her hair and some of her clothes.

She added that a pair of Sophie's shoes were kept on Atay's bedside table and she also had above her bed a picture of Sophie and a poem or verse and a handprint or footprint.

Mrs Love said it was not long after Sophie died that she nominated Atay for a Mum of the Year award with The Chronicle, which she won. Due to her having just given birth again, her mother collected the award on her behalf.

Atay, 42, denies murdering Atakan, 45, at their home in Birtley, Gateshead, on the night of October 18 last year.

She claims he attacked her as she was about to go out to buy wine but says she can't remember stabbing him.

The trial continues.

- who of was "He would "I didn't because agree "deserve"He would moan about her, saying she was lazy, and would belittle her all the time Karine Atay's sister Elaine Love


Atakan Atay
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 1, 2019
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