about josephine

Josephine Smith, a 39 year old woman from Kings Lynn, was convicted of the murder of her violent husband, Brian, on the 30th November 1993. The court heard evidence of how Josephine had suffered many years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, which Brian used to control her life. Josephine had previously tried to leave him, but he tracked her down, and threatened to kill her children.

On the night of the 30th July 1992, Josephine shot Brian following a vicious row, which had lasted several hours. In her own words, Josephine says that she killed him “to get the children away safely with no fear of him coming after me”. However, at her trial, the prosecution introduced evidence relating to allegations of Josephine's past dishonesty in dealing with debts. This way, they discredited her as a witness and implied she was fooling the psychiatrists about the abuse.

Following her conviction, Josephine applied for leave to appeal, but this was rejected. In 1998, fresh submissions were made to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), and the CCRC investigated her case, making her wait four years for a decision. On 4th November 2002, following support from Justice for Women, the Court of Appeal quashed the murder conviction, substituting manslaughter, for which Josephine was sentenced to ten years. Because of the time that she had already served in prison, Josephine walked free from the court.


For media coverage of Josephine's case, please visit our press coverage page.