February 10, 2022 3.21 pm

Woman guilty of her partner’s manslaughter in Boston home

The jury deliberated for two days

A Boston woman was today (Thursday) found guilty of the manslaughter of her partner.

Charlie Stevenson, 21, had denied murdering Christopher Higgs, also 21, at her home in Portland Street, Boston.

A jury at Lincoln Crown Court today cleared Ms Stevenson of murdering Mr Higgs after deliberating for two days.

But the jury convicted Ms Stevenson of the manslaughter of Mr Higgs, and she will be sentenced at a later date.

Officers in boiler suits at the scene of the incident. | Photo: David Dawson

As the jury foreman returned the not guilty verdict to the murder charge, Ms Stevenson, who was stood in the dock, let out a short sigh.

Judge Simon Hirst told Ms Stevenson: “The jury have found you guilty of manslaughter in this case. I am not going to sentence you today. Both advocates will assist me with the appropriate sentence.

“I can not tell you when it will be, but it will not be long.”

The prosecution had alleged that Mr Higgs died from a single stab wound to the heart which was deliberately inflicted by Ms Stevenson on July 14 last year.

Christopher Donnellan QC, prosecuting, claimed Ms Stevenson gave a variety of different accounts of what happened to save her own skin and to keep custody of the couple’s young son.

Mr Donnellan told the jury: “The prosecution case is that the blow was deliberately inflicted, it was not an accident, it wasn’t done in self defence, or because of a mental health issue or a personality disorder which you may hear about.”

But giving evidence at Lincoln Crown Court, Ms Stevenson told a jury Mr Higgs pulled the knife towards himself after strangling her.

Police investigating the murder at the property on Portland Street, Boston. | Photo: David Dawson

The jury heard Ms Stevenson had been in a long term “on-off” relationship with Mr Higgs and they had a baby in June 2020.

Both had a troubled upbringing with Ms Stevenson, who suffered from an unstable personality disorder, being taken into care at the age of four, and Mr Higgs at the age of 12.

At the time of his death Mr Higgs was under bail conditions to live with his brother in Spalding after police were called to an incident at Portland Street on May 30.

But Ms Stevenson said by July 10 she had allowed Mr Higgs to stay at Portland Street until he got some accommodation.

On July 14, Ms Stevenson said she took a FaceTime call from Mr Higgs brother, also called Charlie, while Chris was still in bed.

Ms Stevenson said she prepared her son’s porridge and his lunch in the kitchen while still on the FaceTime call and left the knife on a chopping board.

Mr Higgs came downstairs and went to the toilet where he was tapping on his phone, Ms Stevenson said.

Ms Stevenson said Mr Higgs’s brother asked what was up with him, and she replied: “He’s got no weed.”

Mr Higgs overheard and said: “No, you’ve been on at me all day.”

Ms Stevenson said she asked Mr Higgs to get their son’s food but he didn’t do it.

She then asked for Mr Higgs’ brother to come and get him, telling the jury: “I knew what kind of day it was going to be. I hated it when he had no weed.

“He started to get more angry and he put the phone down on Charlie. He started to bend down and put his forehead on my forehead. I was trying to push him off.

“He just lost control and started attacking me, punching me in the head, and started strangling me. I tried to grab his balls and he let go, but then he grabbed my parts.”

Christopher Higgs, 21, died with stab wounds at the home of Charlie Stevenson last July. | Photo: Lincolnshire Police

Ms Stevenson said her dog jumped up and they were still moving near the fridge with Christopher still holding her in a headlock.

“He was getting tighter so I picked up the knife because I was scared and wanted him to get off me.”

Asked what she intended to do with the knife Ms Stevenson said: “Scare him away. He carried on and got tighter around my neck.”

Ms Stevenson said she was holding the knife in her right hand. “I couldn’t see or breathe,” Ms Stevenson added.

“Chris bent down squeezing me, but I pulled away with the knife. He got his hand on my hand with the knife, I pulled it away, he pulled the knife towards him, then something bad happened.”

The jury heard Ms Stevenson rang 999 and stayed at the property until paramedics and police arrived.

In her 999 call to the ambulance service Ms Stevenson said Mr Higgs had slipped and fallen on the knife.

She also told a police officer who arrived at the scene that Mr Higgs had stabbed himself.

The defence argued there was a history of Ms Stevenson being assaulted by Mr Higgs – but the prosecution also outlined a number of violent incidents involving Ms Stevenson.

CCTV from a bed & breakfast where Ms Stevenson and Mr Higgs were staying during a temporary placement in May 2019 was shown to the jury.

During the footage Mr Higgs could be seen putting a hand around Ms Stevenson’s neck and snatching a phone from another resident who was ringing the police.

But Ms Stevenson also admitted picking up a knife to scare Mr Higgs during a previous physical row.

Ms Stevenson, of Portland Street, Boston, denied murder on July 14.

She was remanded back into custody and will be sentenced on March 3.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Myszczyszyn from East Midlands Special Operations Unit, who led the investigation, said: “My heartfelt condolences go to Christopher’s family and friends. I know this has been a very difficult time for them and I hope that the result will give them some closure to allow them to move forward with their lives.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in the investigation, from witnesses to the team investigating. This case highlights the devastating effect using a weapon can have and the fatal consequences that can come with it.

“We as a force are committed to tackling the issue of knife crime in the county with Operation Raptor. Officers in Lincolnshire continue to work around the clock to keep our county as safe as possible from the consequences that knife crime can bring.”