about Donna

Donna Tinker, mother of three, was convicted of murder in April 2000 after killing her violent husband, Richard. Describing their relationship as “two people in love, but then love turned to hate”, Donna experienced frequent violence from Richard before she fought back. When threatened with a hot iron to her face, Donna stabbed Richard and he died. Donna did not talk of his violence at her trial, the reason being that Donna was “riddled with guilt” at having killed the man she once loved and the father of her children. This guilt meant she did not want to “put him down” when on trial. Donna was given the mandatory life sentence. Justice for Women in Leeds was contacted after her conviction and provided much-needed support to Donna.

My name is Donna Tinker. I am a 30-year-old woman currently serving a life sentence for taking the life of the man I loved. Sadly my story is a very familiar one. After years of being in this abusive relationship, on the 13th June 1999, he became a victim of this relationship too. The depth of pain and remorse I feel for my husband dying by my hand is something I am incapable of putting into words. I never wanted or meant for this to happen. It started as just another argument that moved as it always did on to him hitting me. This night in particular he’d kicked me in the face and punched me. But then he picked a hot iron up, and I panicked. I was just trying to stop him hurting me anymore. I couldn’t and still can’t make sense of my trial. No witnesses were called for my defence. I trusted my legal team, as in a situation like this you have no choice but to put your trust in them. Shouldn’t I have been advised that witnesses were needed so they could establish the nature of the relationship between my husband and myself? Wouldn’t this have been crucial information the jury should have heard? I’d never heard of Justice for Women until April of last year when my parents were told about them and contacted them on my behalf. Now we are working on my appeal. Justice for Women found a solicitor and barrister for me, who are adept at dealing with this type of case...
— Donna Tinker

On 5th December 2002 the Court of Appeal quashed Donna’s murder conviction and substituted manslaughter, for which Donna was sentenced to seven years in prison. She was released in December 2003.


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