CROWBOROUGH pensioner Eileen Smith has been cleared of murdering her lover in a drunken row.

Miss Smith, 62, allegedly knifed 49-year-old Peter Mabbut through the heart at their home in Hookswood Close last May.

But a jury found her not guilty of murder and manslaughter after she told how Mabbut put the knife in her hand and pulled it into his chest himself.

After the unanimous verdict at Lewes Crown Curt, Judge Richard Brown took the unusual step of telling the jurors he "entirely agreed" with their decision.

During a six-day trial the court heard how Miss Smith and the dead man, together for six years, had a volatile relationship in which they drank more than was good for them.

Both were well known at the Crowborough social club where Miss Smith helped run regular raffles and Mr Mabbut helped organise meals onwheels for the elderly.

The jury was told that when handyman Mr Mabbut drank, he became aggressive and frequently abused Miss Smith, occasionally manhandling her.

After the verdicts, Judge Brown told the jury: "I entirely agree with the decision you have made."

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