Prison gov says womans sentence for stabbing husband in dinner row is harsh

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An ex-prison governor says Penelope Jackson was unlucky to receive such a hefty sentence for murdering her husband – and she believes the bubble and squeak killer will be respected by her fellow lags.

The ex-MoD accountant received a life sentence with a minimum of 18 years after stabbing her partner to death in February.

She claimed her husband, David Jackson, 78, was violent and controlling and “ruined” her birthday meal after a row over the bubble and squeak she served at their home in Somerset in February.

But ex-gov Vanessa Frake – who has dealt with Myra Hindley and Rose West – believes Jackson simply reached “breaking point” and shouldn’t necessarily spend the rest of her life in prison.

She told the Daily Star: “From my personal perspective an 18-year minimum sentence was harsh. I think it was harsh because she was a woman.

“And it was doubly harsh because she said she did it and ‘don’t let the paramedics save him’ in the arrest footage.

“I saw the body cam footage and you have to question whether she was in her right mind.

“Most people say ‘no comment no comment’ but she looked like she’d reached breaking point where she wanted him dead above all else.

“Did she just literally snap because we all reach breaking point at some point or another.”

Vanessa – who worked as Governor of Security and Operations for HMP Wormwood Scrubs – added: “There is this whole issue around women, violence and coercive behaviour and it depends what side of the coin you look at it.

“But the average life sentence for a woman is usually 10-15 years and so I thought 18 was a lot.”

Jackson, who had been married to David for 24 years, stabbed her fourth husband three times using a kitchen knife.

She called 999 and said: “I’ve killed my husband, or tried to, because I’ve had enough.”

And when cops arrived on February 13 she told them she “should have stabbed him a bit more”.

But according to Vanessa, Jackson will have plenty of supporters behind bars.

She said: “I would imagine most prisoners will be empathetic with her because there is a hint of domestic violence in her past and she is going to a women's prison.

“There are a lot of women in there who like her have snapped and because of that most will be empathetic towards her.”

One person who does not sympathise with Jackson is retired detective Mark Williams-Thomas.

He tweeted: “She claimed she was in an abusive relationship – but four times married it looks very much like she was the abuser ‘gaslighting’.”

Vanessa meanwhile has been retired for eight years and recently published a book called The Governor: My Life Inside Britain’s Most Notorious Prisons.

And she said the priority for prison staff dealing with Jackson will be the safety of her and others.

Vanessa, 59, explained: “She will literally see psychologists, psychiatrists, medical staff and education staff just to determine her state of mind.

“They will be concerned whether she’s suicidal or not. It will also be decided whether she is a danger to others and it will be worked out where to put her in the prison where she and others will be safe.”

Vanessa also offered the following advice to Jackson, who may never see freedom again.

She said: “You have to work with the prison system and not against it. Being 66 she is of retirement age so doesn’t have to work but she can if she wants to.

“She will need to occupy her mind so things like getting a job, going to the gym and staying fit will help.

“Maybe help other prisoners who are younger and are looking for guidance. That’s all for down the line, not today or tomorrow.”

Vanessa continued: “She has had her liberty taken away so it doesn’t matter what age you are.

"To have everything decided for you, where you go, what time you go, when and what you eat and when you get up and go to sleep is a shock and there’s no denying that.

“There will be assessments in place to help her adjust.”

She added: “A great thing for prisoners is acceptable. Once they have accepted their crime and their sentence they are halfway there.”

Jackson was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court last week after nearly 11 hours of deliberations by the jury.

  • Murder

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