Chilling moment killer was arrested after knifing her partner to death and leaving him dying in her kitchen while she went out – as she is jailed for life for his murder
- Sonja Blenkiron, 41, was found guilty of murder after stabbing Paul Wagland, 52
- She was handed a mandatory life sentence today with a minimum of 15 years
This is the chilling moment a woman was arrested for knifing her partner and leaving him to die in her flat while she went out.
Sonja Blenkiron, 41, was today found guilty of killing Paul Wagland, 52, at her Gatcombe Road flat on January 30 this year.
She denied murder but was convicted unanimously by a jury of seven men and five woman after a trial at Bristol Crown Court today.
The trial heard how she stabbed the father and grandfather in her kitchen before hanging up her clothes and going to visit a friend.
Trial judge The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair KC handed her a mandatory life sentence with a minimum term of 15 years.
Sonja Blenkiron, 41, was found guilty of murder after fatally stab 52-year-old Paul Wagland (pictured) at her Gatcombe Road flat on January 30 this year
Sentencing today, trial judge The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair KC handed Blenkiron (pictured) a mandatory life sentence with a minimum term of 15 years
Paul was described as a family man who doted on his children and grandchildren.
During the trial, the court heard about the couple’s ‘volatile’ relationship and how there had been reports of violence on both sides.
Police made several visits to Blenkiron’s Hartcliffe flat following alleged assaults.
Blenkiron told the jury she loved Paul but reached for a knife when he grabbed her around the throat. She said she moved it forward in self-defence intending just to nick him – not to kill him.
The judge said the jury rejected Blenkiron’s claim that she acted in self-defence.
He conceded there was no planning and accepted some evidence of Mr Wagland using some force on her in the past – but she was often as bad as him. He was satisfied she more frequently lost her temper.
Sarah Wagland, Paul’s wife, said she and Paul fell in love as teens and ‘Wag’ adored his children and grandchildren. She said he was a real family man.
When she was told he had died her heart sank. She couldn’t believe he had been killed and couldn’t stop shaking.
She said she keeps thinking of the sound her children made when they heard their dad was dead. And she recalled her grandchildren’s tears when they were told.
Police body cam footage shows Sonja Blenkiron’s arrest at her flat in Harctliffe, Bristol
She could be heard saying that she wanted to make sure Paul was ok after the attack
Paul (pictured) was described as a family who doted on his children and grandchildren
Sarah added that she doesn’t sleep anymore, and keeps wondering what his last words were. She loved him for so many years, she said, and couldn’t believe the man she saw when she identified his body.
She explained that she now lives with anxiety. ‘It feels like I can’t find the joy in anything anymore,’ she said.
Paul’s eldest daughter says when her dad died, her life changed. ‘My heart felt it was going to beat out of my chest,’ she told the court.
She recounted how nothing had prepared her for it, when she was told: ‘She’s killed him’.
She said Paul, a loving grandad, was gone and her children were left worrying someone else would die.
She said she lies awake most nights and feels sick to the stomach thinking about his last movements and whether he knew how much his family loved him.
‘He was a fun, happy-go-lucky man’, she said. Whenever she picks up a knife she thinks about how her dad was taken from her.
She says no man now will ask her dad for permission to marry her, and her dad won’t get to walk her down the aisle. Anxiety now features in her life, she said.
She feels so heartbroken her dad is gone and feels ‘immense guilt’ she wasn’t able to say goodbye and tell him how much she loved him. ‘You not only took his life but she took all of ours,’ she told Blenkiron.
Police were called to an address in Gatcombe Road in the early hours, where sadly 52-year-old Paul Wagland died at the scene
Police pictured outside Blenkiron’s flat in Hartcliffe after discovering Paul’s body
A forensic officer is seen carrying a plastic bag at the scene ealier this year in Bristol
A statement from Paul’s daughter Katie was read by the prosecutor. She said when she was told about her dad being fatally stabbed her life changed.
She’s constantly reminded by that day and has taken a ‘ridiculous’ amount of time off for immense grief followed by the reality she will never see her dad again, kiss him, hug him or tell him she loves him.
Katie said when she saw him in the Chapel of Rest those distressing images of him, and his coldness, will stay with her for the rest of her life.
She added that she now finds everyday activities trouble her now – knives bring back thoughts of his death, as does music. She said: ‘My life has completely broken apart.’
Paul’s son James said he and his family have been robbed of their dad. He feels Paul would have found the strength to leave Blenkiron.
He said he thinks about how much horror his fad felt. ‘I feel I’m stuck in an eternal nightmare which is played on repeat.’ He said he would give anything to tell Paul how much his family loved him.
Paul’s sister Claire said many of her tears have been for her mum, aged 86, who will spend the rest of her life grieving for her son.
She lost her other brother ten years ago, she says, and feels lost and alone. ‘I’m proud to call beautiful and charismatic Wags my big brother,’ she wrote.
Ray Tully KC, defending, said: ‘She has to understand her actions resulted in the murder of a man who was very much loved by his family and friends.’
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