Horse-whisperer, 69, likened to The Twits character faces dying in jail for murdering husband

22 March 2024, 15:22

Horse expert Christine Rawle (l) jailed for a minimum of 17 years for murdering husband Ian Rawle (r)
Horse expert Christine Rawle (l) jailed for a minimum of 17 years for murdering husband Ian Rawle (r). Picture: socialmedia/police

By StephenRigley

A "horse whisperer" has been jailed for life after being convicted of murdering her husband at their Devon home after he called her fat and lazy.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Christine Rawle, 69, killed Ian Rawle, 72, by stabbing him in the back between his shoulder blades with a long knife as he pushed a wheelbarrow of horse manure to a dung heap on August 21, 2022.

She was told she will serve a minimum of 17 years in prison as she was sentenced and now faces dying behind bars.

She pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, claiming she was acting in self-defence following years of abuse at the hands of her husband, but was convicted of the charge by a unanimous jury on Friday.

Judge James Adkin told Rawle she "violently thrust" a knife with a 12.5-inch blade into her husband's back, intending to kill him, during a heated argument about the sale of land on their £800,000 home.

Christine Rawle faces dying in jail
Christine Rawle faces dying in jail. Picture: Devon and Cornwall Police

Read More: Horse-whisperer likened to The Twits character guilty of murdering husband by stabbing him in the back

Read More: Horse trainer 'stabbed husband to death while on phone call with her daughter', trial hear

During the trial, Rawle claimed she had been the victim of coercive and controlling behaviour - suffering years of physical and psychological abuse from her husband.

The judge said: "Ian was not perfect. The evidence showed that he was obstinate, sometimes grumpy, he could shout, he was stuck in his ways and he was old-fashioned in terms of how he wanted a relationship with his wife. But he was in no way the serial domestic abuser you sought to portray him as."

He added: "The main reason you killed your husband was that you have an ungovernable temper."

The couple had been compared to Roald Dahl's The Twits when she put Viagra in his tea, chilli in his pants and wiped her bottom with his ties.

The retired circus trainers who keep a family of pet monkeys, continuously played practical jokes on one another out of their hatred for one another.

Footage of 'horse whisperer's' angry row with husband before she murdered him

Read More: IT worker who murdered millionaire couple with fentanyl before altering couple's will jailed for life

When police arrived at the scene, and during police interview, Rawle claimed she had been subjected to years of psychological and physical violence from her husband.

The defendant, who has been diagnosed with depression and complex post-traumatic stress disorder, insisted she believed he was going to kill her when she attacked him.

Witnesses gave differing accounts of Rawle and her husband, with one neighbour describing Mr Rawle as “vindictive” and unpleasant to his wife.

Court artist sketch of Christine Rawle, 69, convicted of murdering her husband Ian Rawle, 72
Court artist sketch of Christine Rawle, 69, convicted of murdering her husband Ian Rawle, 72. Picture: Alamy

Rawle’s son Thomas told the jury how Mr Rawle had subjected his mother to years of abuse, and tried to control her by hiding her car keys – describing her as a “fat pig”.

A friend of Rawle said she waited on her husband “hand and foot” but he would accuse her of being lazy and useless, with Rawle confiding that she wanted a divorce.

One work colleague of Mr Rawle told the court she was concerned he was the victim of domestic abuse and tried to find him a support service.

She described seeing Mr Rawle with a black eye, which he said was caused by his wife. On one occasion, Rawle rang the workplace and told the witness: “Tell Ian to look in the mirror because he isn’t Kevin Costner”.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

14 passengers made it onto a life raft

At least six dead and seven missing after fishing boat sinks 200 miles off Falkland Islands

Charlotte Dujardin, Britain's joint-most decorated female Olympian, has pulled out of Paris 2024

Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin ‘whipped horse 24 times like an elephant in the circus’, claims lawyer

Roberta Taylor was diagnosed with pneumonia after a fall two months ago

EastEnders and The Bill star Roberta Taylor dies aged 76 from infection caused by fall

Kamala Harris raises her arms against a backdrop of US flags

Kamala Harris kicks off campaign for US president with rally in Wisconsin

A line of traffic against a red background

Wildfires send thousands fleeing from Canadian Rockies’ national park

Former Home Secretary James Cleverly has announced he will stand in the Conservative Party leadership contest.

Former Home Secretary James Cleverly announces Tory leadership bid

Kamala Harris

‘A fight for the future’: Kamala Harris vows to take on Donald Trump’s ‘extremist’ agenda in first campaign rally speech

Police help a man out of a police vehicle

Man faces murder charges after mass shooting in Croatia nursing home

Labour has seen off a potential rebellion on the two-child benefit cap

Keir Starmer suspends seven rebel Labour MPs who voted to get rid of two-child benefit cap

Spain and Manchester City star Rodri has been charged by UEFA after he chanted about Gibraltar during a Euro 2024 victory event.

Manchester City star Rodri charged by UEFA over Gibraltar chants during EURO 2024 celebrations

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base, in Dover, Delaware

Joe Biden seen for first time since quitting presidential race as Democrats rally behind Kamala Harris

Robert Hammond, 47, faced a "surging mountain of debt and financial pressures"

Mortgage broker who murdered his wife to cash in on her life insurance and pay off £300,000 debt jailed for 24 years

Michael Marmot said the cap was 'almost a form of eugenics'

Two-child benefit cap amounts to eugenics, public health expert claims ahead of MPs' vote

nna Holland and Phoebe Plummer are accused of throwing two cans of soup at the legendary painting

Tomato soup acted 'like paint stripper' in Just Stop Oil Van Gogh protest, court hears

Crowd of people on a hillside

Death toll in Ethiopia mudslides rises to 229 as search operations continue

Charlotte Dujardin, Britain's joint-most decorated female Olympian, has pulled out of Paris 2024

Team GB’s Charlotte Dujardin suspended after video shows her ‘hitting horse’s legs’