THE woman on trial accused of murdering Keighley man George Dore said she was “gobsmacked” when her partner said he had stabbed him.

Angela Thornton told the jury she had no suspicion that Leslie Walker had a knife until she saw blood on his face and asked him about it.

“He said he had stabbed George with a knife and he had dropped it,” she said. “I was gobsmacked.”

Thornton, 48, of Nightingale Street, Keighley, was giving evidence in her defence at Bradford Crown Court. Asked by her barrister, Tahir Khan QC, if she was guilty of murdering Mr Dore, she replied: “No.”

Walker, 46, of Nightingale Street, and Anthony Atha, 53, of West Bank Close, Keighley, also deny murder. Mr Dore, 49, died after being stabbed in the chest outside his home on Fell Lane in Keighley at around 3.40am on April 8.

Walker admits wielding the knife but says he did not intend to kill Mr Dore or to cause him really serious injury.

She told the court she had known Atha for many years, seeing him round Keighley. Walker had always had “a hug and a smile” for her. She went to stay with Walker last Christmas and by the time of Mr Dore’s death they had got together. She was unemployed and taking drugs.

When she ordered a taxi to Mr Dore’s house, she had taken cannabis, crack cocaine, heroin, Valium tablets and alcohol. She said he owed her £300 and she wanted to “sort it out with him”. She had a stick with her but she left it in the taxi. Walker was kicking at Mr Dore’s front door and his partner came to answer it. Thornton said the women were abusive to one another.

Then “George just came busting out of his house,” she said.

“He came flying out, pushed me, I landed on the floor on my left arm and Les came over to my defence. Then he came for me again, grabbed hold of me and swung me to the floor.”

Walker and George were grappling and George was on top of him.

“They were fighting and I thought George was really going to hurt him. He was a really big bloke, 17 stone.”

Thornton said she ended-up with the stick in her hand and hit Mr Dore on the back to get him off Walker. Mr Dore went back into his house and she walked off with Walker and Atha. She didn’t know that Mr Dore was injured but then she saw blood on Walker’s face.

“I asked him about it and he said he had stabbed George with a knife and he had dropped it,” she said. She used her phone torch to find the knife. Atha had his hand out and she passed it to him. Thornton again said she was “gobsmacked”. There had been no talk of a knife and she had not seen one at the scene. Afterwards, she had bruising to her left arm, swelling to her left hand and grazing. She said that would have been caused when Mr Dore pushed her over and her arm got trapped under her back.

The trial continues.