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Accused murderer lost control

PUBLISHED: 13:20 05 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 March 2010

A MOMENT'S madness led accused murderer Terence Abbott to turn his estranged wife into a human fireball, Norwich Crown Court heard today.

Giving evidence, Abbott, who is accused of murdering his ex-wife Lorraine Baldwin, admitted he lost his self control, but denied intentionally killing her.

A MOMENT'S madness led accused murderer Terence Abbott to turn his estranged wife into a human fireball, Norwich Crown Court heard today.

Giving evidence, Abbott, who is accused of murdering his ex-wife Lorraine Baldwin, admitted he lost his self control, but denied intentionally killing her.

Cross examined by prosecutor David Farrell QC, Abbott said: "I thought the flames would just die off again" as he looked back to see his wife engulfed in flames.

Questioning Abbott Mr Farrell said: "You poured petrol over your ex-wife having removed the lid (of the petrol can), having fought with her mother, having removed a cigarette lighter from your pocket, you start the fire. You then go off, you look back to see she was a ball of flames. You knew she was on fire but you went off, didn't you?"

Mr Farrell asked Abbott, 53, of Speedwell Road, Ipswich, why he didn't go back and help his ex-wife. He replied that he thought that if he went back he would be set upon by his mother-in-law Maureen Baldwin.

Mr Farrell replied: "To save your own skin you wanted to drive off and leave your ex-wife burning to death."

To which Abbott replied: "I didn't know she was burning to death."

He said when he pursued his ex-wife from her mother's house in Goldcrest Road, Ipswich, on April 19 last year, to her aunt's house in Kestrel Road, where she was set alight, he said he wasn't in control of himself.

Asked if he had intended to hurt her, he said no.

Mum of four Lorraine Baldwin died as a result of burns which destroyed the skin on 75 percent of her body.

Abbott, of Speedwell Road, denies murder.

Earlier the jury had been told that after setting his wife alight, he returned to his daughter Tanya's flat telling her: "I've done what I said I was going to do."

Ms Abbott continued: "I said what's that? He said something about 'You're not thick, you should know'. He told me he had set her alight."

The court heard he told to his son Travis: "You can live where you want now. Because I will be doing about 12 years."

Today prosecutor David Farrell asked Abbott what he meant when he said he was going to do about 12 years.

Abbott said: "For using petrol on my wife."

Farrell told him: "You had just left your ex-wife in a ball of flames hadn't you? You had deliberately set fire to her."

To which Abbott replied: "No."

Adding: "I didn't go out with the intention to set fire to her."

Farrell continued: "So how did she get on fire?"

To which Abbott replied: "I set her on fire."

He said that he had actually lit the lighter which set her on fire.

Asked again if Abbott deliberately set fire to his ex-wife, he replied: "No."

Asked if he thought it was an accident, he replied: "It's something that shouldn't have happened."

Abbott continued: "I did not go out with the intention of setting fire to her."

Farrell asked: "What was going through your mind when you were telling your son you would be doing 12 years?"

To which Abbott replied: "I had just done something stupid. I dunno … scared at first."

Abbott denied telling his daughter that he had done what he said he was going to do – which meant setting her alight.

Abbott told the jury: "I tell my boy I would go and break his neck, but I don't intend to do it."

Abbott denied that he was jealous of his ex-wife and that he threatened her because he wanted to control her.

The trial continues.


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