Just eight days after her marriage, a 25-year-old wife appeared before Rotherham magistrates charged with the murder of her husband, Police Constable Patrick Durkin.
The couple had met when she locked herself out of her flat, and Constable Durkin arrived in his Panda car in response to her call for help. She worked as a clerk with the Department of Social Security, and six months before their wedding she went to live with the policeman at his home in Kilnhurst, near Rotherham, south Yorkshire.
Then, a week after their wedding day, the couple’s neighbours were woken early on the morning of NOVEMBER 28th, 1984, by the sound of a shot, followed by a cry.
Mrs. Durkin had shot her husband, and when she appeared at Sheffield Crown Court in July 1985 it transpired that she had acted out of desperation. She had been defending herself against a husband who had turned out to be a sado-masochist, a man who had developed a “Svengali-like” control over her, according to her counsel.
“There is reference in her statement to the police,” her counsel went on to tell the court, “to pornographic films, allegations of bestiality and sickening perversions.”
Declining to make some of the evidence public, Mr. Justice Hodgson said: “I could hardly accept it until I saw the things found in their house.”
Instead of jailing Mrs. Durkin, he placed her on probation for three years on condition that she remained at a psychiatric hospital as an in-patient.
“There seems no reason to blacken anyone’s name by going into details of their marriage,” the judge said. “One doesn’t want to be seen covering up, but it is encapsulated in the phrase that she was subjected to sadistic behaviour over a lengthy period of time, which she accepted because she was in love with him.”