St Leonards man accused of murdering Bexhill partner takes court through his account of tragic night

A man accused of murdering his girlfriend in front of their seven-month-old daughter has taken a jury through his recollection of the moments that led up to her death.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 1:37 pm
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 4:21 pm
Kayleigh Hanks. Picture: Sussex Police

Ian Paton, 36, of Snowdrop Rise, St Leonards, is charged with murdering Kayleigh Hanks, 29. She was found dead at her flat in London Road, Bexhill, in the early hours of July 21, 2019.

Mr Paton denies murder.

At Hove Crown Court on Friday (January 31), Mr Paton told the court he was 'sorry to everybody for what they have had to go through' following Miss Hanks' death.

Taking the stand, he told the jury on the evening of July 20 Miss Hanks had demanded to see his phone to check for messages with two other women.

While looking through the phone, Mr Paton said, Miss Hanks found a message he had sent to a friend about 'a plan' he had in respect to Miss Hanks.

Miss Hanks asked Mr Paton what he meant by this, before telling him she had a plan of her own, Mr Paton said.

Mr Paton said: "She (Miss Hanks) disappeared out of the front room and down the corridor. I waited a minute or two before I went to the bedroom to try to get another pillow. I was facing the wall and just turned around to see Kayleigh charging at me.

"She had a knife and I turned around. I put my arm up. It all happened so quickly."

Alexandra Healy QC, prosecuting, accused Mr Paton of 'fabricating' the real reason behind the argument. She said it had started because of Mr Paton's jealousy towards one of Miss Hanks' friends, who the couple had seen earlier that day.

In response to questions from Tom Nicholson-Pratt QC, defending, Mr Paton said after he saw Miss Hanks with the knife, he used his left hand to grab Miss Hanks' right arm and his right hand to grab her neck, pushing her into a set of chest of drawers.

Mr Paton added: "We both fell to the floor. I was on top of her to the side slightly. I was trying to bang her hand on the floor. I tried banging her arm against the wall to try to get rid of it. My hand was still on her neck.

"There was a little bit of blood coming out of her nose. The knife dropped out of her hand and as soon as it dropped, I stopped. I went to (our daughter). I let go totally.

"Kayleigh was a funny colour. I thought I made her pass out. I went straight to (our daughter). She was screaming. She had just been through an experience she should never have had to go through."

When asked if he checked on Miss Hanks, Mr Paton said no.

He said he called 999 and asked for the police as 'he didn't have much confidence in the ambulance service' after they were delayed getting to Miss Hanks when she was ill earlier in the week.

When asked by Mr Nicholson-Pratt what his intentions were that night, when he saw Miss Hanks with the knife, Mr Paton said: "To keep her at arm's length. I was terrified of Kayleigh at that time. She was not Kayleigh. I thought she was going to kill me."

Mr Paton accepted he had applied pressure to Miss Hanks' neck but when asked if he intended to kill her, he responded: "No I never would have. Never. Never. Never."

Mr Paton was informed of Miss Hanks' death when he was in police custody. When asked for his thoughts at that time, he said: "I was broken. Completely and utterly broken. Despite our ups and downs, we got over them. It did not matter. I loved Kayleigh. It broke me. It broke her family. It broke her sister. It has broken my daughter. It has broken my family. It has broken everybody.

"I would never wish this on any of them or anybody. It's not fair. It's not right and everybody has been through an absolute emotional rollercoaster.

"I am sorry to everybody for what they have had to go through and my daughter does not have her mummy. That's not right."

The trial continues.