A British woman who killed her husband in a villa on a paradise island in Malaysia has escaped the death penalty.
Samantha Jones, 54, broke down when she was told her charge of murder had been reduced.
Instead she had been found guilty of ‘culpable homicide’, which is murder without intent, for the fatal stabbing of her husband John Jones, 63, after a drunken row.
The former insurance clerk from Somerset will no longer face the death penalty, which is mandatory for murder in Malaysia.
The new offence carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment to a fine. Samantha is expected to be sentenced later today.
She appeared at Alor Star High Court in Kedah, wearing a face mask and was escorted into court by a female police officer.
The Brit cried when she saw her family waiting in court, believed to include two sisters.
On the eve of her trial, Jones had said about the victim: “I want everyone to know, I loved that man”.
Samantha killed her husband of 17 years after a drunken row.
Her victim, the grandfather-of-five, died from a single stab wound to his chest at his villa on the paradise island of Langkawi in Malaysia in 2018.
The dad-of-two, who had children from his previous marriage, was stabbed with a kitchen knife which pierced his liver.
It happened after he returned home from a day drinking with fellow ex-Pats.
Samantha ran to their British neighbour for help but by the time the ambulance arrived, John was already dead.
Since the incident, his wife has been locked up in a crowded jail on the mainland waiting for her trial which was due to start today.
At early hearings she appeared in court shackled with bare feet and matted hair.
Jones claims she suffered years of domestic abuse at his hands and her lawyers have been battling to see the charge reduced.
Her lawyer, Sangeet Kaur Deo, a human rights specialist, told the Mirror on Sunday: “The one thing she wants everyone to know is she actually really loved this man.
“He had a lot of problems himself and she was standing by him and working it through.
“She never imagined anything like this could ever happen, she’s trying to come to terms with it.”
It is believed John may have started counselling to try and solve their marriage problems.
“It has been so overwhelming for her. She’s lost her husband and her home,” the lawyer added.
“She is still grieving and it has been a very traumatic experience for her and a lot of harm has been done.”
She said they were of the view the case did not deserve a charge of murder and had applied to the prosecution to have it reduced.
About Samantha’s health she said they had been scared she was going to get the virus in prison. It is believed she suffers from acute asthma.
“But they (the prison) have been quite good and she has been segregated because before the pandemic she was in hospital for a few days with a chest infection,” she explained.
The victim’s family were unable to attend the hearing but a family friend, who did not wish to be named, said: “The family have kept a dignified silence throughout this ordeal so not to compromise a fair trial. They feel the evidence speaks for itself.”
Locals on the island claimed Samantha was the victim of domestic abuse and gave statements in her defence.
The couple met at a fire service bash and John, a former firefighter, left his wife, his childhood sweetheart and children for her.
The pair moved to the paradise island of Langkawi for a “new life” but instead it descended into violence and drunken fights.
Samantha’s lawyer claims her client feared John would kill her one day and had suffered a broken jaw and numerous injuries at this hands during drunken rages.
She claimed during one incident he was sober when he randomly punched Samantha in the face.
But the lawyer said Samantha was unable to turn to police on the island, where domestic violence is still seen as a “taboo” subject.
Instead, she said, her client put up with regular beatings until October 18th 2018, when her husband was killed.
Sangeet Kaur Deo previously talked to the Mirror about the night of John’s death.
She said: “He came home completely drunk, and she feared for her safety. There was a struggle and he was being violent.
“He punched her all over. It’s unclear what happened next.”
She claimed she had statements from witnesses who say Samantha was “living in hell in paradise”.