A MAN who endured “domestic abuse” by his wife has been given a jail sentence after he strangled her to death in their home.

Stuart Roberston, who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, had been cleared of a charge of murder yesterday following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

The jurors, who returned their unanimous verdict after just over two hours deliberations, heard how the defendant had snapped during a row in which he claims she called him a slave and that she told him he was not their son’s dad.

During the week-long trial, the court had heard that there was a long history of police call-outs to the couple’s home in Cannon Street, Clock Face prior to Dawn being killed on November 15 last year.

On that day the 69-year old tee-total defendant, who had stopped drinking around a decade ago, walked into St Helens police station and confessed to killing the mum-of-two a few hours earlier.

Robertson, a retired warehouse manager, had said that Dawn, who was his second wife, used to drink two to two and a half bottles of brandy every day and would start drinking as soon as she got up in the mornings.

The trial heard that on the fatal day, she verbally abused Roberston and came towards him pointing her finger at him and said he was her slave. When he told her he was going to the home of their son, Michael, he claimed she had said he was not his son and at that moment in time he believed her.

Robertson put his hands around her neck and squeezed “and the next thing I knew she was dead.”

St Helens Star: Police on Cannon Street after the incident Police on Cannon Street after the incident (Image: St Helens Star)

Robertson said she looked uncomfortable so he dragged her to the floor and put a pillow under her head and a crucifix in her hand.

Asked during the trial why he had strangled her he said: ”I had just wanted her to shut up with the abuse, that’s all I wanted to do.”

Following yesterday’s verdict, judge Andrew Menary KC adjourned sentencing until today, Thursday.

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Roberston sat in the dock for this morning’s hearing wearing a jumper over a blue-collared shirt.

Prosecuting barrister Peter Glenser KC read out a victim personal statement made by the couple’s daughter Licia on behalf of her and her brother Michael.

This stated they had “left home when we were young” to move from the “issues and chaos from our parent’s home”.

It added: “We have lost our mum and dad in one night. This is still our dad. All the information and evidence (in the trial) is the first time we have heard it which has, on occasion, caused us frustration and anger”.

It added: “You have taken a life you had no right to take” and “you have to live with what you have done”.

St Helens Star: Robertson was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on ThursdayRobertson was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday (Image: Stock)

Passing sentence, judge Menary said: “Of course there is a background and a context to these tragic events and the jury heard in quite some detail of the nature of your relationship, how the marriage, which was happy at first and produced two children, steadily deteriorated over the years principally because of the use of alcohol.

“It seems Dawn was a perfectly delightful person when sober but a pretty horrible person when she had a drink.”

The judge noted how Dawn “repeatedly and consistently belittled and undermined you” and that a psychiatrist found Roberston had suffered “significant psychological harm”.

Judge Menary said he had “very real doubts” as to whether Dawn had said the words about Michael not being Robertson’s son but said “I am sure this would have had a marginal additional impact on you” and that “I’m sure you wouldn’t believe them”.

The judge said aggravating factors in the offence included “the use of strangulation” adding “this wasn’t the first time you had put your hands around your wife’s throat and a history of using your hands in this way is a real red flag for domestic violence, and sometimes fatal violence.”

He added: “In addition, Dawn was a vulnerable slightly-built pathetic drunk who represented no threat to you”.

St Helens Star: Stuart RobertsonStuart Robertson (Image: Merseyside Police)

Judge Menary said Robertson’s most significant mitigation was his “remorse which I accept is entirely genuine”, noting that the “history of violence” has “already been reflected in the reducing of the nature of the offending from murder to manslaughter.”

The judge imposed a six-year jail term on Robertson, two-thirds of which he must serve before being released on licence.