The judge at the murder trial of Trowbridge man Ian Graham told Bristol Crown Court that murderer Louise Cox had needlessly taken a life.

Cox, 45, of Newtown, pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder but was found guilty of killing Mr Graham, 51, of Beaufort Mansions, in Stallard Street, and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 14 years to serve.

Mr Graham, suffered a 5cm neck wound and a fatal 12cm chest wound, both inflicted with a kitchen knife, in the early hours of November 20, last year at his flat and died at Royal United Hospital, Bath at 5.27am.

When Cox took to the stand, she told the court that the incident took place after Mr Graham twice pinned her against the wall as she tried retrieve her bags before leaving the ground floor flat and after the first alleged attack Cox said she ran into the kitchen and got the knife of a draw to scare Mr Graham.

Mother of four Cox, originally from Bradford on Avon, elected to stay in the court’s cells when being sentenced by Neil Ford QC.

“They argued and I accept that Ian Graham gripped her and held her against the wall, her case is that thereafter, in fear, she went to the kitchen draw returned to get her bags and the same happened and he took her by the throat. This I reject and I’m sure that it is untrue,” said Mr Ford.

“She made no reference to her bag at all in her statement given to police and implied the deceased had followed her and she made no mention of being grabbed for the second time. I’m sure that the defendant has invented her account and I’m satisfied  she was acting in anger or retaliation for what had happened earlier.

Mr Ford told the court, that in 1992 Cox had slashed a friend with a knife after an argument, in 2002, she’d threatened the landlord of The Lion and Fiddle, in Hilperton, with a knife and in 2010, in the company of a police officer, she’d threatened to use a knife on a neighbour.

“It was a result of her collecting a knife in anger and drink that lead to this tragic circumstance,” said Mr Ford.

“She has needlessly taken a life and could have easily left the flat instead of  doing what she did. She has caused the greatest sense of loss to Mr Graham’s family.”

The deceased’s daughter Ruby Graham, brother Andrew Graham and sister Margaret Taylor were at court to see the conclusion of the trial.

“We are smiling because we are pleased with the verdict,” said Mrs Taylor.

“We are happy but there’s still a lot for us to take in at the moment.”

Cox, Mr Graham and his friend Ian Hungerford had been drinking alcohol at the Trowbridge flat from around 4.30pm, on November 19, 2012, into the early hours with Mr Hungerford claiming he was in the bathroom at the time of the incident.

An emergency services call was made, believed to be by Cox, at around 4.20am with Police, followed by paramedics, arriving at Mr Graham's home at 4.30am to find the bloody knife, Mr Hungerford aiding his friend and by this time Cox had left the property.

Cox was arrested at Trowbridge Train Station at around 4.40am and taken by car to the custody suite at Melksham Police Station with the court being shown footage of her stating she wanted Mr Graham to die.

“By pleading not guilty to the charge of murder, Cox has refused to take any responsibility of her actions and has forced Mr Graham’s family to endure a trial,” said Detective Chief Inspector Ian Saunders of Wiltshire Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team.

“I think Louise Cox is an individual who posed a risk to others and I think today’s sentence reflects that fact.”

Earlier in the trial, the jury, of nine women and three men, had heard that Cox and Mr Graham had shared a turbulent relationship, since first meeting drinking in Trowbridge Park, in April, last year, with extracts of offensive and abusive texts exchanged between the pair read out in court.

The court had heard that the pair were a couple but when Cox gave evidence she referred to them as ‘mates’ although she said they’d indulged in sexual acts.

Cox alleges that Mr Graham had sexually assaulted her the weekend before Mr Graham died and that he had committed a similar act previously.

Seven hours after being arrested, a urine sample was taken from Cox showing that she was still one-and-a-times over the legal drink/drive limit.

A blood sample taken from Mr Graham during his postmortem examination showed he was four times over the legal drink/drive limit at the time of his death.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Saunders of the Major Crime Investigation Team at Wiltshire Police said: “Today at Bristol Crown Court, Louise Cox, 45, of Newtown, Trowbridge, has been found guilty of the murder of Ian Graham.

“Mr Graham, 50, was murdered on November 20th 2012 after being fatally stabbed at his home address in Beaufort Mansions, Stallard Street, Trowbridge.
“After stabbing Mr Graham, Cox then fled the scene and was swiftly located and arrested by officers at Trowbridge train station.

“Mr Graham was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

“By pleading not guilty to the charge of murder, Cox has refused to take any responsibility of her actions and has forced Mr Graham’s family to endure a trial.

“I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sympathies to Mr Graham’s family and friends.

“I would also like to praise the rapid response of Wiltshire Police officers who were on the scene within minutes of the 999 call and had arrested Cox shortly after.

“This is another excellent example of cross-force working under the Operation Brunel Investigation Team.”