A woman has been sentenced to life in prison for stabbing her boyfriend through the heart, while the victim’s heartbroken family spoke of their devastation.
Joanne Moran, 43, was unanimously found guilty of murdering Jonathan Gibbons on Wednesday.
The 50-year-old victim was stabbed in the heart in the early hours of October 30 last year at the couple’s home on Bridge Road in Litherland, Merseyside.
This afternoon Ms. Moran was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of 17 years.
Mr. Gibbons’ son, Jay, wrote a personal statement from the victim and read it to the court with other family members present.
Joanne Moran (pictured left), 43, was unanimously found guilty of murdering Jonathan Gibbons (pictured right), 50, on Wednesday. Mr Gibbons was stabbed in the heart in the early hours of the couple’s home on Bridge Road in Litherland, Merseyside, on October 30 last year.
He said, “I want this victim to make a personal statement on behalf of me and my family regarding my father.
“When we heard the news that my father had been injured in an incident involving Joanne, we were all in shock.”
Jay said it was extremely difficult to watch his father in hospital at machines “waiting for the inevitable.”
He added that realizing the likelihood of him dying made him “physically ill.”
Jay said the whole incident was made worse by the fact that his relationship with his father “had broken down because of his relationship with Joanne,” and that they hadn’t spoken in several years.
He said, “He has a two-year-old granddaughter whom he will never meet, and because of this incident with Joanne, I will never get a chance to introduce her to my father.”
Jay said Mr Gibbons’ sister, Sandra Lewis, had a “much closer relationship” with him and she is devastated never to see her younger brother again.
He said, “It feels like such a waste of your life to be taken away like this.
“My father will be missed forever.”
Eleven of the twelve jurors appeared to witness the verdict and three people continued to support Ms Moran.
The killer, who wore a black sweater in the dock and sat with her blonde hair tied back in a bun, showed no emotion as the jury’s verdict was delivered after two hours and 53 minutes of deliberation.
At the sentencing, Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC honorary recorder said: ‘You and Mr Gibbons were in a relationship for about six years before that fateful night.
“It was a relatively good relationship for most of that time, but in the beginning it was characterized by occasional violent bouts where you attacked Mr. Gibbons and scratched his face with your fingernails.
“Sometimes those attacks left marks on his face, and it is clear from the evidence presented at trial that others you knew thought this was an unhealthy relationship for Jonathan Gibbons.
“There were times when he hit you, but you readily accepted that this might have been him, simply in response to your attacks and in an attempt to contain you.”
He continued, “It suggests that you are someone who is prone or capable of reacting violently to situations and disproportionate to anything you perceive as provocation.”
Pictured: Merseyside police at the scene of the stabbing on Bridge Road, Litherland, on October 30, 2022
Pictured: Police outside the couple’s home. The victim was rushed to hospital around 4:45 a.m. and died later that day
Judge Menary referred to the brief verbal altercation between Mr Gibbons and another man in the house that evening, but said when the witness left ‘that should have been the end of the matter’.
He added, “But for some inexplicable reason you decided to go to the kitchen, pick up a sharp knife, come back through the dining room and into the hallway where you stabbed your partner in the chest.
“This was clearly an intentional act and the place you chose to stab him risked fatal injury.
“As the pathologist said, Mr. Gibbons was dying from the moment the knife entered his heart.”
Previously heard in a court case that Moran called the emergency services around 4:45 am on October 30 last year to report the stabbing.
The father was immediately rushed to hospital with a stab wound to his chest, but died later in the day.
In the aftermath of the incident, there was a cordon around the address.
Officers conducted house-to-house searches and took CCTV of the area.
Ms Moran and Mr Gibbons had been in a relationship since 2016 and lived at the address for about four years, playing cards and drinking since 3pm the day before.
The defendant told police, “I just stabbed my partner.” She also repeatedly said, “I’m sorry.”
During an interview, Ms Moran admitted that she had previously “scratched” her victims during arguments.
She said Mr. Gibbons had not attacked her in response and described him as calm, referring to himself as “just a cow.”
But the killer then claimed that her boyfriend assaulted her and gave her a black eye twice.
Ms Moran added: ‘I don’t always put my hands on him. When we argue, we argue.
“But it doesn’t always end in me attacking him. I’m not that bad.’
At her trial, Ms Moran insisted she had “moved the knife” but “didn’t go stab John.”
She said she had no recollection of picking up the knife and not intending to stab Mr. Gibbons.
Detective Superintendent Matt Caton said today: ‘It is nice to see that Moran will have enough time behind bars to reflect on her actions on that tragic day. Her violent actions led to the death of a man who will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
“I hope this sentencing brings them some comfort at this very difficult time and that they feel justice has been served. I would like to take this opportunity to convey my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Gibbons and hope that this sentence will provide them with a sense of closure and allow them to grieve the loss of a loved one.
“Domestic violence is a shocking and reprehensible crime and it is never acceptable no matter who it affects.”
Following the stabbing, tributes poured in for Mr Gibbons, who was known as John and described as a ‘dear man’.
His friend Stephen Hollinshead said, ‘He was a good friend and a good father. He always knew how to laugh. He was also a good uncle.
“He will never be forgotten, I will never forget all the good times we all spent together. I’m going to miss you. I couldn’t wish for a better friend.’
In a tribute, the victim’s family said: “John Gibbons was sadly taken from us under the most tragic of circumstances.
“The incident has come as a shock to both us and his family, as well as his friends.
“He will be truly missed by all of us. As his family, we ask for privacy at this difficult time.”