Christine was convicted of the murder of David McIlroy on 17 January 2001. Both Christine and McIlroy suffered from alcohol problems, having met and commenced a relationship at a rehabilitation clinic in 1998. Christine had been a victim of domestic violence in her previous marriage, which had lasted for about sixteen years. She was also the victim of sadistic violence from her older brother. McIlroy had a previous conviction for manslaughter and was violent towards Christine on a number of occasions, using the earlier killing he had committed as a cautionary example of his capabilities. There were also a number of reports of Christine’s violence towards him when drunk.
On 25 March 2000, the police were called to Christine’s home after McIlroy forced entry by kicking the door in that she had locked to keep him out. When the police arrived, Christine demanded that they remove McIlroy from her home. However, the police decided that she was more drunk and abusive than he was and that they would not intervene. Less than an hour after the police left, Christine had stabbed McIlroy.
When interviewed by the police, Christine gave an account in which she described the history of violence and abuse she had endured from McIlroy, and stated that she had stabbed him when he had lunged towards her. Christine was not called as a witness in her own defence – her lawyers relied only on the defences of accident and self defence. They agreed with the judge that there was not sufficient evidence to leave provocation to the jury. Despite a long history of depression, alcoholism and suicide attempts, Christine's lawyers failed to obtain a psychiatric report to explore the possibility that she was diminished in her responsibility for the killing. With the support of Justice for Women, Christine was released by the Court of Appeal on 18th April 2005 having served five years. A sentence of a three-year community Rehabilitation Order was imposed, after her conviction for murder was quashed and manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility substituted.