‘I JUST LOST IT’

“I JUST lost it and attacked her.” That is what murder accused Alfredo Merigo told the jury while giving evidence at his trial.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2011, 10:41 am

Mr Merigo, 43, is on trial at Sheffield Crown Court after denying a charge of murdering his estranged wife Linda Merigo at her home on Clematis Close in Driffield on September 1 last year.

This week Mr Merigo took to the witness box as the defence began their case.

Mr Merigo told the jury on Monday that he could not remember the attack on Mrs Merigo, which occurred on the driveway of her property, although he accepts that his actions led to her death.

He said he had travelled to Driffield to see their son,and had been waiting for around two hours in his car to see him on the day in question.

Their son

was brought home by his grandmother, he and Linda argued over a number of things while Mr Merigo prepared to take the two-year-old for a walk in his buggy.

The couple began to argue about the forthcoming weekend and what contact Mr Merigo could have with his son. Mr Merigo was seeing his two older children from previous relationships that weekend and wanted to spend time with all three of his children.

“She said I am not interested in your children, they are nothing to do with me,” he said.

Mr Merigo said the couple continued to argue as he put his son in the buggy and Mrs Merigo re-arranged a raincover in the tray under the pushchair. He told the jury this was when Mrs Merigo produced a knife, which he said had been left under the buggy from a picnic he had taken with Mrs Merigo and their son the Saturday before her death.

Mr Merigo said: “She had this knife in her hand out of the blue, I didn’t know it was there. She came towards me and said ‘If you don’t shut up about your children I will use it on you’ and she lunged at me. At that point I just saw the bad side of her.”

He added: “I pulled the knife off her with my palm, she span about 90 degrees and I just lost it and attacked her.”

Mr Merigo’s barrister Peter Birkitt QC asked the defendant if he accepted that he took the knife and attacked Linda with it “again and again and again.”

Mr Merigo said he could only remember hitting her once in the back, but admitted: “It must have been me, yes.”

When asked if he delivered deliberate and intentional blows, Mr Merigo said: “I have no idea. I have no recollection.”

He added he had no idea if he moved the pushchair his son was sitting in at the time of the attack.

“I might have brushed past it but I do not remember moving it,” he said.

Mr Birkiit asked whether, during the violence, Mr Merigo took any steps to try and prevent his sonseeing what was going on.

“No, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing,” he said.

He added his first recollection after snapping out of his “trance” was hearing his son shuffling in his buggy and seeing some movement out of the corner of his eye. Aside from this he said he did not remember seeing anyone during the attack.

Once inside Mrs Merigo’s house Mr Merigo had first tried to ring his mother, before ringing his 15-year-old son.

“I didn’t know what I was doing, I just knew I had done something horribly wrong. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do in that situation.

“I had this knife in my hand and knew something had happened to Linda and I was not going to see my children for a while as a consequence,” he said.

The court has previously heard that in the weeks before Mrs Merigo’s death, Mr Merigo had Googled phrases including ‘murder or manslaughter what’s the difference’ and ‘the quickest way to kill someone.’

Mr Birkitt asked his client to explain why it was he was making these searches

He said he and his children had been watching DVDs of the TV series Jonathan Creek. As a result his son had been asking how to commit the perfect murder.

Mr Merigo said: “Going back to last year there was the Raoul Moat incident and David Bird. Either something on the news or in the newspaper mentioned somebody had received a sentence of manslaughter from murder.”

He added this, mixed with his son asking inquisitive questions made him inclined to enquire what the difference between manslaughter and murder was.

During cross examination prosecutor Mark Bury said there was nothing accidental or random about the stab and incised wounds to Mrs Merigo’s chest.

“You were deliberately stabbing her in that area because you intended to kill her,” he said.

Mr Merigo said he honestly could not say as he had no recollection of anything after the first blow. He said he could not hear his estranged wife scream.

Mr Bury said the defendant had inflicted a 7cm deep wound along Mrs Merigo’s virginal tract as a deliberate attempt to “inflict excruciating pain” on her.

“If that’s what you say. I can’t recall,” he said.

Mr Merigo said he attacked his wife because she came at him with a knife, provoked him in the way she was talking about his children and because he had seen her get violent in the past after an argument. He said on that occasion she had thrown ornaments in their home.

He said his army training during service while he lived in Italy once he left school made him take the knife from Linda.

“It is either you or them,” he said.

“Linda was a social worker,” Mr Bury said. “She cared deeply as part of her job about children. Are you saying that, in front of her own child, she went to stab you with a steak knife?”

“Yes,” Mr merigo replied. The trial continues.