Annie Merrilees cleared of murder after killing violent boyfriend Dean Williamson

Annie Merrilees at the Old Bailey. Pic: CENTRAL NEWS

Annie Merrilees at the Old Bailey. Pic: CENTRAL NEWS - Credit: central news

A former Harrods shop assistant who stabbed and killed her violent boyfriend has been cleared of murder and manslaughter.

Annie Merrilees, 25, thanked the jury after she was acquitted yesterday following a trial at the Old Bailey.

Merrilees stabbed nightclub bouncer Dean Williamson in the heart on December 17 last year after grabbing a knife as he threatened her.

Her relatives wept tears of joy as she was cleared of murder after less than three hours of deliberations.

“I never intended to kill him,” she sobbed.

“I was upset about what he did to me but I loved him. He loved me too.”

Dressed in black, she mouthed “thank you” at jurors before being released from the dock.

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Judge Christopher Moss QC told her: “You are free to go.”

Merrilees initially claimed her partner turned the knife on himself after police found him dying at the flat the couple shared in Glandford Way, Chadwell Heath.

But a three-year-old girl at the scene told police: “She did it - but it was an accident.”

Merrilees later admitted knifing Mr Williamson, but insisted she was defending herself.

Prosecutor Peter Finnegan said the 31-year-old was a heavy drinker and cocaine user.

But he said Merrilees was also a drug-taker who was “in the habit of getting involved in abusive slanging matches” with the dead man.

On the day he died, the couple had been drinking before returning to the flat with friend Katie O’Brien.

Ms O’Brien said they argued violently and Mr Williamson had his hands around Merrilees’s throat.

She did not see the stabbing but said Mr Williamson staggered into the living room and fell holding his chest.

Merrilees told the court she was repeatedly assaulted by Mr Williamson during their three year relationship, including on the day he died.

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