Woman jailed for manslaughter - Abingdon

05/06/2015

A woman appeared at Oxford Crown Court today, Friday, 05 June 2015, and was jailed for nine years for the manslaughter of her partner in Abingdon last year.

Natasha Elderfield, aged 41, of Bridge Street, Abingdon, was found guilty by a jury on Wednesday, 22 April 2015, of the manslaughter of 33-year-old Robert Dobinson.

On 19 October 2014, at around 7.18pm, Elderfield called Thames Valley Police from her boat moored close to Bridge Street, Abingdon, saying she was having problems with her boyfriend, Robert Dobinson.  The call operator described her as abusive and aggressive on the phone and, after about a minute, Elderfield ended the phone call.

At 7.36pm, police were called to Bridge Street, Abingdon after a member of the public reported he could hear a man stating that he had been stabbed.

Robert was found lying on the tow path towards Nags Head and on arrival police officers began CPR, but Robert later died in hospital.

Robert died from a single stab wound, which penetrated between 10 and 12 centimetres and penetrated the heart twice. He also had defence injuries including a stab wound to his palm.

Elderfield was arrested shortly afterwards and was charged with murder on 21 October.  After a two and a half week trial, she was acquitted of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "This case involved the untimely death of 33-year-old Robert Dobinson AKA Robert 'Raggy' Smith in Abingdon last October. His life was brought to a premature end by his partner, Natasha Elderfield.

"On the evening of Sunday, 19 October 2014, after drinking heavily throughout the day, Elderfield stabbed Robert in the chest with a kitchen knife during a domestic argument and fight. They had argued in the cabin and on the deck of her boat, which was moored near Abingdon Bridge, when she returned to the cabin, armed herself with the knife and pursued him as he retreated to the shore. Robert was found unconscious and seriously injured on the tow path by the river Thames. He was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries. Elderfield returned to her boat and told a friend that she had stabbed Robert.

"Elderfield pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter and denied stabbing Robert. However, a jury found her guilty of manslaughter, after a two and a half week trial, despite her denials.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

"We know that nothing will bring Robert back to his family and friends, but we hope that the conviction and today's sentence bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Detective Chief Inspector Kev Brown said: "This was a difficult prosecution given the circumstances, but I am pleased that a jury found Elderfield guilty of manslaughter and a conviction was achieved.

"As with any case where a person has lost their life, no sentence ever feels adequate for what the family and friends of the victim are going through.

"This case sadly demonstrates the extreme outcomes that can emanate from excessive drinking and domestic violence. Elderfield may not have intended to kill Robert, but due to her violent and drunken actions, a family is left without their son and brother and his daughter is without her father.

"No sentence can ever bring Robert back, but I hope that the knowledge Elderfield will serve significant time behind bars will help his family as they start to move forward with their lives."