Boyfriend killer jailed for life

A YOUNG woman who brutally stabbed her boyfriend to death after a drinking binge could walk free from prison in less than three years.

Jayne Helen Coulter (20), of Clough Lane, Mixenden, Halifax, was jailed for life yesterday but was told she would only have to serve two years and eight months in prison before she could apply for parole.

She denied murdering 18-year-old Nathaniel Lees on Easter Monday last year but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mr Paul Worsley QC, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court that on the day of Nathaniel's death, the couple, who moved in together in October 2001, had both been drinking cider.

At 4 pm neighbours heard the pair arguing, doors slamming and Coulter shout, "Nathan, don't leave me", followed by a long loud scream.

She had stabbed her boyfriend several times and became hysterical as he stumbled outside in bloodstained clothes and collapsed on a grass verge.

Nathaniel was cradled in the arms of neighbours until paramedics arrived but he died in the ambulance on the way to Calderdale Royal Hospital.

Police officers attended but Coulter was abusive and threatened to kill herself.

She and Nathaniel both had a history of self harm and on this occasion her arms were covered in cuts - some of which were new.

She remained volatile at Halifax police station and assaulted officers while trying to injure herself by hitting her head against a cell wall.

Five hours later a test revealed she had 175mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. It was estimated she would have had 270mg of alcohol in her bloodstream at the time of the attack - about three and a half times over the legal limit for a driver.

A 20cm long brown handled kitchen knife was recovered from the scene.

A post-mortem examination revealed Nathaniel had received a fatal stab wound to the front of the chest which penetrated the heart and the liver. He had a second stab wound and a number of cuts and scratches.

When Coulter was interviewed she could not remember the attack but claimed she would not want to hurt Nathaniel.

In mitigation, Mr David Fish QC, for Coulter, drew attention to the sad facts of her adolescence.

Psychiatric reports revealed that Coulter is suffering from an untreatable personality disorder.

When passing sentence, the recorder of Leeds, Judge Norman Jones QC, said: "You, of course, have to live the rest of your life in the knowledge that you killed someone you had genuine affection for and probably still do.

"Having read the medical reports, I am satisfied that all three psychiatrists are satisfied that you pose at least some risk for the foreseeable future. I have come to the conclusion that the only sentence I can pass upon you is one of life imprisonment."

He said she would be assessed by the Parole Board in two years and eight months but warned her not to raise her hopes.

Coulter will begin her sentence in a young offender's institution but will be transferred to an adult prison when she reaches 21.