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Mother-of-two who stabbed and killed her 'Charles Bronson' boyfriend at Hanwell flat is cleared of murder

Jury finds Elizabeth Hart-Browne not guilty of the murder of Stephen Rayner

Elizabeth Hart-Browne of Baker House in Nightingale Road cleared of Stephen Rayner murder(Image: Google)

A mother-of-two from Ealing has been cleared of stabbing her boyfriend to death at the family flat during a champagne-fulled fury.

Elizabeth Hart-Browne broke down in tears as the jury gave their verdict of not guilty at the Old Bailey , following a six-week trial.

The 27-year-old jeweller told jurors Stephen Rayner would take on the persona of his idol, the notorious prisoner, Charles Bronson , during countless terrifying attacks on her.

She said: "He had a fascination with Charles Bronson. He liked his aggression.

"There were lots of stories about him attacking prisoners and guards.

"He would take on that persona sometimes when he was angry.

"His whole accent changed, his whole being would change and I couldn't get through to him."

The court heard a row had erupted at the couple's Hanwell flat at Baker House, Nightingale Road, after Miss Hart-Browne came home in the evening from a family party on September 17 last year.

Jurors were told how 25-year-old Mr Rayner had began hitting her then grabbed her by the throat, before she picked up a large kitchen knife and stabbed her boyfriend three times with a fatal wound to the neck, whilst young children sleeping just feet away.

The victim, a call centre worker, staggered outside and collapsed in a pool of blood as shocked neighbours ran to help.

Elizabeth Hart-Browne cleared of the murder of Stephen Raynor

Meanwhile, in a panicked state Miss Hart-Browne cleaned the knife and cleared up blood spatter, the Old Bailey heard.

Barefoot and wearing only one earing, a hysterical Miss Hart-Browne told police: "I didn't mean to do it, I'm so sorry. I have just killed the man I love."

She denied murder as she believed Mr Rayner, originally from Bournemouth, was going to kill her as he had threatened to do in the past.

Prosecution alleged she lied about accidentally injuring her boyfriend after picking up the knife to defend herself.

The couple had been in a volatile six-year relationship during which the defendant had been attacked many times, jurors heard.

In 2012, outside Liquid nightclub in Uxbridge, Mr Rayner threatened to throw himself in the Thames and went on to plead guilty to battery.

In 2015, a fearful Miss Hart-Browne took out life insurance as she believed "I was in danger of him killing me and I didn't want my kids to be left with nothing".

She told jurors she regretted not just going to bed when she got home that night, as he would still be alive.

James Scobie QC, defending, asked: "That night when you picked up that knife, what did you fear?"

She replied: "I thought he was going to kill me."

Mr Scobie said: "When he said that to you in the past did you believe he was capable of that?"

She replied: "Yes."

Following the not guilty verdict, Miss Hart-Browne rushed into a waiting black cab without making any comment.

Her legal team said it was "pleased" with the verdict.

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