Husband 'murdered wife by pouring white spirits over her and setting it on fire after row about clothes'
21:40 GMT, 3 December 2012
A husband killed his wife by pouring white spirit over her and setting it alight, prosecutors have said.
Stephen Eastwood, 55, attacked his wife of 10 years, Angela, 56, at their home in Thurcroft, Rotherham, a jury at Sheffield Crown Court was told today.
The court heard Mrs Eastwood did not go to hospital immediately and may not have appreciated at first how serious the burns were to her face, neck and chest.
Stephen Eastwood, right, denies murdering his wife of 10 years, Angela, 56, right, who had burns to 15% of her body, including full thickness damage to her face. She had also suffered damage to her airways
But she died four days later at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.
Joiner Eastwood went on trial today accused of Mrs Eastwood’s murder, which he denies.
Brian Cox QC, prosecuting, told the jury Eastwood 'lost his temper' on December 27 last year.
Mr Cox said the defendant got the white spirit from his garage.
'He knew it was flammable, that’s why he got it,' he said.
'He went straight back inside the house and poured it on to Angela Eastwood. A significant quantity of the liquid was poured on her and her clothing. He then ignited the spirit with a flame.'
Prosecuters told the jury at Sheffield crown court that Mr Eastwood had killed his wife at their home in Thurcroft, Rotherham, pictured, by pouring white spirit over her and setting it alight
The prosecutor said: 'In all probability it was one of the many cigarette lighters found in the house by the police.
'He then tried to concoct a story to explain what happened.'
Mr Cox said library worker Mrs Eastwood was taken to hospital in Rotherham by her husband and was caught on CCTV walking in.
But when doctors saw her they realised how serious the injuries were to her face, neck and chest. She had burns to 15% of her body, including full thickness damage to her face. She had also suffered damage to her airways.
Mrs Eastwood was transferred to Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital but died on December 31.
Mr Cox said Eastwood gave medics and police officers differing accounts of what happened in the couple’s home at Sycamore Drive, Thurcroft.
But he said the defendant consistently claimed he did not realise his wife had a cigarette and it was this that ignited the white spirit vapour.
Mr Cox told the jurors they will hear experts explain how it is not possible to ignite white spirit with a cigarette. He said only a naked flame would do this.
He said the defendant told interviewing police the couple were having an argument about clothes he had packed in a bag just before the incident happened.
Eastwood told the officers he was threatening to put the white spirit on the clothes when it went on his wife.
Eastwood’s sister Jennifer Scott gave evidence, telling the jury she
had seen no signs of abuse or violence in her sister’s marriage.
Mrs Eastwood did not go to hospital immediately and may not have appreciated at first how serious the burns were, but she died four days later at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital, pictured
She agreed there were some tensions between Mrs Eastwood and her husband over money but said they still managed to go on holiday twice a year. She said they had been planning trips to Cuba and Egypt.
Asked if they were still in a loving relationship, Mrs Scott said: 'No idea. You can’t tell, can you' Mrs Scott agreed her sister was a strong character.
Asked if she was a 'forceful personality', she said: 'Not always.' Asked if she 'spoke her mind', she said: 'She could do.'
And asked if her sister was the dominant one in the relationship, she said: 'I wouldn’t know that.'
Eastwood sat in the dock flanked by a security officer. He has balding, short, grey hair and was wearing a dark suit, red tie and a white shirt.
The trial continues.