Knightcote murder trial: defendant has ‘no idea’ how many times he hit estranged wife

Patricia McIntosh. Photo courtesy of SWNS.com
Patricia McIntosh. Photo courtesy of SWNS.com

An airline pilot has told a jury he has no idea how many times he hit his estranged wife as he kicked, stamped and beat her to death in the kitchen of their former matrimonial home.

Andrew McIntosh’s attack had been motivated by his wife Patricia’s refusal to drop the asking price for the house, Grass Yard in Knightcote, near Gaydon, where she was still living.

Grass Yard in the village of Knightcote in Warwickshire where former pilot Andrew McIntosh attacked his estranged wife Patricia and left her with severe head injuries and she later died.

Grass Yard in the village of Knightcote in Warwickshire where former pilot Andrew McIntosh attacked his estranged wife Patricia and left her with severe head injuries and she later died.

Earlier in his evidence at Warwick Crown Court McIntosh, a pilot with the holiday company Tui, had spoken of his suicidal thoughts and attempts he had previously made to take his own life.

McIntosh (54) who was living in a cottage at Woolscott Manor, Woolscott, Rugby, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Patricia, or ‘Trish,’ in November last year, and it is said his defence was that he was suffering from diminished responsibility.

The jury has heard their home had been put up for sale after McIntosh had moved out, but by November there had been little or no interest, and he wanted her to drop the price.

Trish would not do so, and after drinking four bottles of beer, McIntosh drove to Knightcote where he asked her again to drop the price, which she declined to do and told him to leave.

He picked up a saucepan containing water and peas, and ‘smashed her with it,’ before also attacking her with his fists and feet, kicking her and stamping on her.

“She died on her kitchen floor. The defendant did nothing to help her after he had finished the attack. He didn’t try to give her first aid, or call 999, or anything.

“He left her lying on the ground, with blood surrounding her head and on the kitchen surfaces and elsewhere,” prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith has told the jury.

Giving evidence, McIntosh said he had been born in Bradford, but after his parents separated when he was five, his mother took him and his sister to live on the Isle of Wight.

In response to questions from his barrister Rachel Brand QC, he said he left school with no qualifications and did a variety of jobs before meeting his first wife Carol.

After living with her parents in Wembley, they moved to Buckinghamshire where he got a job as an assistant air controller at Luton airport.

Asked how he had then got into flying, McIntosh said: “Carol bought me a trial lesson as a birthday present.”

Having discovered that he loved flying, he continued working in air traffic control and in a low-grade position at a flying club in return for flying lessons, and at a gliding club.

He got his private pilot’s licence and later, with the help of business development loans, went on training courses before qualifying as a pilot when he was 30.

After that he worked for various airlines including BMI Baby before joining Thomson, which then became Tui, mainly flying out of Birmingham and East Midlands airports.

As a result of that, he and Carol, who had two children, moved to Warwickshire and designed their own self-build house at Napton-on-the-Hill.

But in 2010 the marriage broke down ‘due to infidelity on my part over a period of about 12 months,’ and it was agreed she would remain at the house with the children, and he moved out and bought a house in Southam.

After meeting Trish, McIntosh said he suffered a heart attack while walking the dog in November 2012, and had to undergo two operations to have stents fitted, and was off work for 16 months, during which time he was on reduced pay of 75%.

Miss Brand put to him: “We know that in October 2013 you were at the hospital, having taken some co-codamol. Was that accidental?”

McIntosh, who said he had taken a lot more than the 60 he told a doctor, replied: “No, it was an attempt to take my life.

“I was becoming unhappy in the relationship, I felt I had overstepped the mark financially, and I couldn’t see me getting back to work.”

Asked whether he had ever self-harmed before, he said: “Yes, when I was a teenager, 17 or 18. I cut my wrists. Again, I was attempting suicide, but it failed.”

Of his relationship with Trish, he said before they had married in 2014 there had been an incident when they had argued after he stopped at a pub and had two pints as he was out cycling.

As a result he was late home, and could not drive to take her out for lunch because he had been drinking.

“She thought I was seeing someone. She called me a liar and she spat at me. It hit me in the face. Regretfully, I lashed out and hit her twice in the face, punches.”

He denied putting his hands round her throat, and denied being controlling or striking her on any other occasion until the night she died.

Of the build-up to their separation last year, when he moved out, he said: “It became very difficult to live with each-other, and we found ourselves living apart in the same house.”

But he said he began to feel isolated and to have more thoughts on self-harm, explaining: “Having already attempted an overdose, I put that to the back of my mind, but was looking at high-rise buildings. I knew that wouldn’t fail.”

That led to him being signed off work and receiving counselling before being found fit to return to duty in September.

He said he had wanted ‘a fair clean break’ with Trish which would enable him to keep his salary and pension, and had wanted her to consider dropping the asking price for the house.

Of the evening of the killing, he said he had drunk four small bottles of beer before driving to Knightcote, and had not phoned first because he knew she would not pick up his call.

Asked what Trish’s attitude was to his arrival, he said: “It was clearly hostile. She didn’t want me there. We both had a barrage of words. She was saying ‘no, get out.’”

Miss Brand asked what happened then, but he replied: “It’s hard to describe, really.”

Miss Brand asked: “About the number of times you hit her, you used the phrase to the police ‘I lost control.’ Are you able to expand on that now?”

McIntosh answered: “I just remember having an overwhelming feeling of emotion, and I was unaware until it was too late that I had lost control.”

Miss Brand asked him: “Have you got any idea how many times you hit her or kicked her.” He replied: “No.”

And asked how he felt as he left the house, McIntosh said: “Just numb, shock.”

The trial continues.