A PENSIONER who fatally stabbed his “evil cow” wife of 53 years in the neck on Christmas Day was today found guilty of her manslaughter.

Thomas Bryan, 76, denied the murder or manslaughter of 74-year-old Vivienne Bryan at their detached bungalow in Francis Avenue at the seaside village of Fairbourne in south Gwynedd.

He told police he considered himself a victim of domestic abuse and gave a thumbs up gesture when he was cleared of murder.

Mrs Justice Jefford will sentence him tomorrow.

She told the jury: "This has been a difficult case, no doubt an emotional case, given the evidence you have heard. Mr Bryan has indicated his gratitude for the decision you reached.”

His wife had agreed she was evil, Bryan claimed to police, and he added :“I couldn’t have friends unless she liked them.”

He called her an evil cow and she said he was useless.

Opening the case at Caernarfon crown court, prosecuting QC Gordon Cole said the retired engineer and his wife went to their ex-cop daughter Angela’s home next door for Christmas dinner but there was “tension” between the couple.

The parents returned home. But Mr Cole said just before 8pm Angela Bryan had called police after her father arrived at her home.

“He said that his wife had come towards him with a knife. The defendant said he had stabbed her,” Mr Cole said. He told his daughter :”Go, look.”

Angela Bryan found her mother motionless on a lounge sofa and saw blood. She tried to revive her. A carving knife was recovered.

The defendant told police there was a row about his drinking and he went behind the sofa. His wife turned around and there was a struggle.

“During that altercation the defendant says he saw a knife on the sofa,” the prosecutor said. “The next thing he recalled was seeing a pool of blood on a cushion next to his wife’s shoulder. His wife was sitting there with her head tilted.

“We say the defendant was behind his wife when he inflicted the fatal blow.”

The QC said Bryan suggested “I may have lost my temper,” but the prosecution maintained it didn’t mean a loss of self-control.

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers said the downward stab wound was to the right upper neck. An artery had been severed.

The jury heard the defendant had drunk an amount of alcohol “likely to have caused a significant degree of intoxication in an average social drinker.”

Ian Unsworth QC, defending, in a speech to the jury said :”It’s not in issue that Thomas Bryan caused the knife wound to Vivienne. It’s not an issue that she died as a result of the wound he inflicted.”

But he said there was a “history” and the tragedy didn’t arise from an isolated incident carried out in drink that evening “but had its deep roots in the cumulation of events going back weeks, months and even years.”

Mr Unsworth declared :”None of this justifies what happened. Indeed when he was charged with the offence of murder, Mr Bryan said to the police ‘she didn’t deserve to die’.”

But the QC said to the jury :”The history is vital to a proper understanding of this case. That history may enable you to reach a verdict which isn’t murder but one which reflects properly the evidence presented to you.”