British woman who stabbed husband to death in their Malaysian home avoids hanging

Ross McGuinness
·2-min read
British national Samantha Jones (L), accused of killing her husband in 2018, is escorted by a police officer as she arrives at a court in Alor Setar, in northern Malaysia, on August 3, 2020. - Jones was arrested two years ago after her husband John William Jones was found with a stab wound to his chest in his house on the Malaysian holiday island of Langkawi. (Photo by A. Ammarudin / AFP) (Photo by A. AMMARUDIN/AFP via Getty Images)
Samantha Jones, left, has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison after she stabbed her husband to death. (AFP via Getty Images)

A British woman who fatally stabbed her husband in Malaysia has avoided the death penalty.

Samantha Jones, 54, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Monday and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Her husband John William Jones, 62, was found dead in the couple’s resort home on 18 October, 2018.

On Monday her lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said prosecutors had reduced the original murder charge to culpable homicide, which is murder without intent, after the defence appealed to the attorney-general’s office.

In Malaysia a conviction for murder carries a mandatory death sentence by hanging.

“She is very relieved having come to terms with what happened that night and for the court… to understand what happened that night. She didn’t intend for this to happen,” her lawyer said after the hearing in Alor Setar in the northern state of Kedah.

In addition to the jail sentence, Jones was also fined 10,000 ringgit (£1,800).

British national Samantha Jones (L) is escorted by a police officer as she arrives at a court in Langkawi on October 30, 2018. - Jones, 51, was detained after her husband John William Jones, 62, was found with a stab wound to his chest on the floor of his house on Langkawi. (Photo by Alif BAKRI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ALIF BAKRI/AFP via Getty Images)
Samantha Jones, left, escorted by a police officer for a previous court appearance in October 2018. (AFP via Getty Images)

Jones, originally from Somerset, was charged with her husband’s murder two years ago after his body and a bloodstained kitchen knife were found in the property.

Police say Jones confessed to stabbing her husband in the chest during a heated argument.

Wearing a mask and handcuffed, Jones was escorted by police into the courthouse on Monday.

The couple moved to tropical Langkawi island 11 years ago under the Malaysia My Second Home programme, which gives foreigners long-staying visas.

Sangeet Kaur Deo, lawyer for British woman Samantha Jones, speaks to the media after a court hearing at Langkawi Magistrate court in Langkawi, Malaysia, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. Jones is expected to be charged for allegedly stabbing her husband, John William Jones, 62, to death on Oct. 18. (AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)
Sangeet Kaur Deo, the lawyer for Samantha Jones, said the defendant had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and avoided the death penalty. (AP Photo)
In this Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, image from video, handcuffed British woman Samantha Jones, right, is escorted to a van at Alor Setar High Court in Kedah, Malaysia. Malaysian police said Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, that the British woman was detained on the resort island of Langkawi for allegedly stabbing her husband to death. Langkawi police chief Supt. Mohamad Iqbal Ibrahim said investigators found a 12 inch-long kitchen knife stained with blood in the couple's home where John William Jones, 62, was found dead Thursday. (StarTV via AP)
British woman Samantha Jones, right, was detained in October 2018 after the death of her husband in Malaysia. (AP)

Her lawyer said the couple, who had been married for 17 years, were devoted to each other but Jones was struggling with physical violence by her husband.

“Unfortunately, Samantha found herself at the receiving end of abuse,” the lawyer said.

“She supported John through various therapies to address certain problems that he had, none of which worked obviously, until that unfortunate night when things took a turn for the worst.

“She has accepted the fact that she needs to serve the sentence. She acknowledged the fact that a life is lost and I think she is looking forward to her own recovery because this was indeed a traumatising event for her.”

The lawyer added that Jones, who has spent 20 months in detention, could be released as early as the end of next year with one-third off the sentence for good behaviour.

In 1989, Derrick Gregory, from Ealing, London, was hanged in Malaysia after being convicted of drug smuggling.