Woman was falsely accused of murder after her partner killed himself

Mother-of-two, 37, tells of her hell after fiance stabbed himself to death in front of her then she spent six months in jail before being cleared of murdering him

  • Joleen Hulme, 37, of Bolton, was wrongly accused of killing Paul Dickson, 48
  • Mr Dickson was rushed to hospital with a knife wound in December 2018 
  • Miss Hulme, a mother-of-two, was charged with murder but cleared in a trial
  • She says she was forced to move and her name was ‘dragged through the mud’

A woman who was accused of murder after her fiancé stabbed himself in front of her says she will be forever traumatised by her ordeal.

Joleen Hulme, 37, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, spent six months behind bars awaiting trial while haunted by the memories of her partner Paul Dickson’s death.

Mr Dickson, 48, was rushed to hospital with a knife wound to the chest on December 30, 2018, and died of heart failure two weeks later.

Mother-of-two Miss Hulme was charged with murder in August 2019.

However, she was unanimously acquitted by a jury after a three-week trial in November of that year – during which a coroner demonstrated how Mr Dickson could have stabbed himself in the chest.

Even after being cleared of murder, Miss Hulme says she feared for her safety and was forced to move to another town after regaining custody of her children.

Miss Hulme said: ‘The fact my name was dragged through the mud meant I didn’t feel safe.

Joleen Hulme, 37, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, was cleared by a jury of murder after her partner Paul Dickson staggered into the street with a knife wound to his chest

Joleen Hulme says she is still grieving the lost of her partner Paul Dickson, 48. She said: ”He looked after me so well, and I knew he loved me so much’

‘Paul’s family were on Facebook calling me a murderer. After I was cleared, they were still saying “she defo did it”.

‘Even though it was a not guilty verdict, people still think I did it and it’s cruel. 

‘It’s cruel because I’ve witnessed my partner kill himself.’

Miss Hulme and Mr Dickson had known each other for years through mutual friends and both had children from previous relationships.

After striking up a romance, they got engaged during a holiday in Egypt and had been together for a year at the time of Mr Dickson’s death.

The couple had hosted a pre-New Year’s Eve house party for their families on December 30, 2018, but got into an argument towards the end of the night.

Miss Hulme recalled: ‘Things were thrown around the front room.

‘Paul then grabbed hold of me and I went upstairs to escape him, and he pulled me back down and pushed me into the front room.

‘He walked into the kitchen to get a knife, walked back into the front room and pushed me onto the couch.

‘He shouted something at me that I can’t remember.

‘I just see him, I don’t hear any noise coming from his mouth, I just see him shouting at me. The anger in his face was just something else, he had totally changed.

‘Then I just see the motion. I see him just thump his chest. And in that moment, I just knew what he’d done.’

Emergency services rushed to the Bolton home of Paul Dickson, 48, and Joleen Hulme, 37, after he staggered into the street with a knife wound to his chest

Mr Dickson staggered out of the front door and collapsed on the street, while Miss Hulme followed him screaming for help.

Emergency services attended the couple’s home in Bolton, where paramedics tried to resuscitate Mr Dickson and took him to hospital to perform emergency surgery.

The knife – which was later recovered on the street – had pierced his heart.

Miss Hulme insists she has no idea why her partner killed himself and says she wasn’t aware of any mental health problems.

She said: ‘I’ve thought about whether he meant to do it a million times.

‘He looked after me so well, and I knew he loved me so much.

‘Even to this day, I don’t feel like I’ve had time to grieve because I’ve had that fight on my hands to try and prove my innocence.’

She went on: ‘I don’t think I could ever get into a relationship again. It’s the fear of it.

‘For me, it’s scary to be in a relationship now because another person can upset your world so much.

‘I just don’t want to put myself in that position again. I take each day as it comes because I’m still healing.’

Joleen Hulme pictured with her fiancé Paul Dickson, who died on January 11, 2019, two weeks after a knife pierced his heart

According to police, Mr Dickson was asking after his fiancée and wanted to know why she couldn’t see him before he died.

Miss Hulme vividly recalls her arrival at HMP Styal. She said: ‘We got to Styal and it was crazy because I’d never seen a prison.

‘I remember sitting in the prison reception where they sign you in.

‘One of the governors came over and sat in front of me and said, “so, who did you kill?”

‘I said, “I’ve not killed anybody, my partner killed himself.”‘

Now, Miss Hulme has sought legal advice about taking action against the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

A CPS Spokesperson said: ‘It is not the role of the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence.

‘But to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a jury to consider.

‘We are satisfied that our decision to bring a charge of murder was correct, in accordance with our legal test, and we respect the verdict the jury reached in this case.’

Greater Manchester Police have been approached for comment.

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