Man who killed wife in front of children guilty of murder


A MAN who stabbed his wife to death in front of their three children has been given a life sentence for murder.

David Bourke (49) admitted stabbing Jean Gilbert (45) to death in front of their three children at the family home in Laverna Dale, Castleknock, Co Dublin, on August 28th, 2007, but denied murdering her.

He claimed to have been provoked beyond reason by his wife’s affair with English-born musician Robert Campion who had re-entered his wife’s life four months previously.

She had told Bourke that she was going to leave him.

The “last straw” had been the meal that Ms Gilbert had with Mr Campion at the family home two days before she died.

Ms Gilbert and Mr Campion met on a Buddhist trip to Japan in 1986.

Mr Campion got “cold feet” when she proposed marriage two years later because he was a professional musician.

They drifted apart, but rekindled their relationship after Mr Campion wrote to her in April 2007.

The jury at the Central Criminal Court of seven men and five women delivered their majority verdict of 11 to one at 4.30pm yesterday afternoon.

They had been deliberating for seven hours and 40 minutes and had been sent home for the weekend on Friday.

Trial judge Mr Justice Barry White had advised them there were only two realistic verdicts. Either Bourke was guilty of murder or he was guilty of manslaughter having offered a defence of provocation.

After the jury delivered the verdict, her brother Robert Gilbert had initially refused to read the victim impact statement when the trial judge said there were paragraphs in it which could only be addressed by professionals.

After adjourning for a few minutes, Mr Gilbert returned to the witness stand.

He described his sister as a “beautiful, blonde, young lady who lived life to the full”.

She was passionate about everything she did which ranged from cooking to gardening and DIY. Her most memorable achievement was to invent a pear-shaped jelly sweet free from artificial flavourings, having done a third-level qualification in food science.

He said each of the couple’s three children, who witnessed their mother’s killing, missed her in their own way and her death had a “profound effect” on them.

“Not only did he take the life of their dear mother, he did it in front of them,” he said. Their family life has been squashed and all things familiar to them as children had changed.

They have had to change school, friends and their lives had been “altered beyond recognition”.

For the eldest daughter there are “no more shopping trips with mum, no more trips to the coffee shop and no going to the hairdressers with mum”.

Her eldest son has repeatedly said, “I want to go home to my mum” and missed her hot chocolate while the youngest son also missed his mother’s chocolate and his “special one-to-one time he had with mum is gone forever”.

Mr Gilbert said his family now had to bring up the three children with all the demands of doctors, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists that are needed.

“This has had a huge impact on us and our children too. The integration of a new family unit has caused us huge stress and strain,” he said.

For her parents Bobby and Amy, she was a “special daughter”. “No parents should have to endure the pain and trauma of losing their child. They will never come to terms with this,” he said.

For his own part, Mr Gilbert admired her honesty, her down-to-earth style and her laugh while his wife “missed her terribly”.

“She was her best friend. Now she has nobody to tell her secrets to,” he added.

Mr Gilbert concluded by commenting on her Buddhist religion.

“She tried to live by the principles of peace and happiness. Sadly, she did not die this way,” he said.