A British woman faces death by hanging after being charged with murdering her allegedly abusive husband with a kitchen knife in their idyllic Malaysian retirement home.
Petite Samantha Jones, barefoot and wearing an orange prison suit with the words ‘Police Lockup’ emblazoned across it, appeared sombre and nervous as she was formally charged with murdering husband John, 63, in Langkawi on Tuesday.
Samantha was charged with murdering her husband between 1am and 3am on October 18 at their £200,000 home overlooking paddy fields in a quiet village on the island.
Samantha Jones is flanked by guards as she arrives barefoot to court wearing prison scrubs
Jones appears to duck her face out of camera shot as she arrives as Langkawi Magistrates court
Samantha Jones (left), a British wife facing the death penalty for murdering her husband John (right) in their idyllic retirement villa in Malaysia has told police she stabbed him in the heart with a kitchen knife in self-defence after suffering years of violent beatings at his hands
Murder carries a mandatory sentence of death by hanging in Malaysia, although her claim of self-defence could lead to her being convicted under a different section carrying a prison term.
The court heard John Jones died of a single stab wound to the chest, with the blade puncturing his liver.
Samantha nodded when asked if she understood the charge which was translated to English for her by a court interpreter. She did not speak during the brief hearing.
The blue skies of the tropical island can be seen in the background as Samantha Jones is lead in handcuffs to the courthouse by a female police officer
No plea was entered and magistrate Adibah Husna Zainal Abidin remanded her in custody until November 29 as the investigation and forensic reports into the killing in the early hours of October 18 continue.
Samantha, 51, has spent the past 12 days in police cells in Langkawi after the killing which she has admitted but says was in self-defence after he kicked and punched her in the villa they have lived in for 11 years.
Her sister, who flew out from the UK to support Samantha shortly after her arrest and has visited her regularly, was in court but refused to talk to reporters.
Samantha bowed her head to avoid being photographed as she was led into court at midday after being taken to court in a police car escorted by female officers.
Her lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said after the hearing Samantha: ‘My client is okay and doing quite well given the circumstances. It is very overwhelming (for her) at the moment.’
Recalling the moments leading up to her husband’s death, Mrs Jones said she stabbed him through the heart at their home for 11 years in Malaysia (pictured) during a row about how late he had been out. She said he was goading her to stab him when she picked up the knife
Ms Deo declined to comment on Samantha’s claims that she had been physically abused by her husband before the killing.
MailOnline revealed last week how Samantha has told investigators her husband punched her in the face and kicked her in the stomach after a night of drinking before the killing, following years of physical abuse.
She claims she grabbed a kitchen knife to defend herself and he goaded her to stab him before she fled to the bedroom holding the knife.
Samantha says she only thrust the knife into the chest of the burly retired fire-fighter when he chased after her and lunged at her in a renewed attack.
She then ran out of the villa and alerted an expatriate woman neighbour. When they tried to go to John’s help as he lay stricken, he pointed at Samantha and said in his dying words: ‘Stay away. You stabbed me, you stabbed me.’
The single knife thrust pierced Harley Davison fan John’s heart and he was dead by the time an ambulance crew arrived at the couple’s £200,000 villa
Petite Samantha, a former insurance clerk from Somerset (pictured being arrested) is expected to be charged with murder early next week and transferred from police cells in Langkawi to a prison on the Malaysian mainland as she awaits trial
Samantha (pictured in a police van) faces a mandatory sentence of death by hanging under Malaysian law if convicted of murder but the sentence could be reduced to a jail term if the court accepts her claims that she killed her husband, also 62, in self-defence
Samantha, a former insurance clerk from Somerset, is expected to be transferred from police cells in Langkawi to a prison on the Malaysian mainland in the next 24 hours.
The island’s police chief Superintendent Mohamed Iqbal told Mail Online a medical investigation of Samantha after the killing found no evidence of any injuries to support her claim John kicked and punched her. ‘There were no injuries (to Samantha) at all,’ he said.
The couple lived in a single-storey home with views over paddy fields in a tiny village two miles from the sea built 11 years ago under Malaysia’s My Second Home programme which has seen hundreds of Britons gain residency on the island.
Friends say the couple temporarily split while in Malaysia because of his violent outbursts. John, from Stourport, Worcestershire, underwent treatment to control his temper and his drinking before they reconcil
Harley Davidson-riding John, who has two grown-up children from a previous marriage and four grandchildren, was a popular and gregarious figure on the island and a regular at bars and restaurants along the lively Centai Beach tourist strip.
But despite their seemingly sunny lifestyle, Samantha has told police John was a heavy-drinking wife beater who she twice reported to police in the UK for assault before the couple emigrated to Langkawi.
Friends say he couple separated temporarily while in Malaysia because of his violent outbursts. John, originally from Stourport in Worcestershire, underwent treatment to control his temper and his drinking before they reconciled.
John, who was chief fire officer in Yeovil, Somerset, immediately before his retirement, had returned from a visit to his family in England shortly before his death.
On the day of the murder, the couple went for sunset drinks together on Centai Beach, a popular area for expatriates to meet and drink out of sight of their teetotal local neighbours on the predominantly Muslim island.
A close friend of the couple, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Sam went home after a while because she wasn’t feeling well and John told her he would be home by 9pm.
‘He ended up in another bar drinking with a friend. She kept trying to contact him through a friend to tell him to come home – he doesn’t carry a mobile phone. John didn’t go home until after midnight. I just wish I ‘d been there to tell him it was time to go home.’
A fierce row broke out when John returned home which Samantha claims escalated when John kicked her in the stomach and punched her in the face.
A police source said: ‘She went into the kitchen and took out a kitchen knife to hold him at bay but he reacted by goading her and pointing to his chest and saying ‘Go on then, stab me’.’
Samantha tells police she then went into the bedroom holding the knife and stabbed her husband once in the chest when he came after her and lunched towards her as she backed up against a wardrobe.
Samantha is being held in police cells on the island of Langkawi and is expected to be charged with murder next week
Detailing what happened that night, Samantha told police a fierce row broke out when John got home which escalated when John kicked her in the stomach and punched her in the face
Mohammed Kamal, 26, (pictured), a neighbour of the couple, said that John was ‘a very good guy’. He added: ‘Everyone around here liked him. We are all very shocked at what has happened’
She then ran to her neighbours for help and returned with the wife, a middle-aged British expatriate, who witnessed John’s dying words as he lay on the villa floor.
Another expatriate friend of the couple, who also asked not to be named, said: ‘John and Sam had had had problems in the past and separated for a while and that John went into rehab to get himself sorted out.
‘But we thought they’d put all of that behind them. They were absolutely devoted to each other and John even had her name tattooed on the inside of his arm.
‘Everyone is just trying to get their heads around what has happened. They were the nicest people you could meet. But who knows what goes on behind closed doors?’
In a tribute to John in his hometown newspaper, relatives said: ‘John was a loving family man who thought the world of them. He moved to Malaysia after retiring but often returned to see his family.
‘He even came back earlier this year to complete the Three Peaks Challenge, climbing Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell, with his daughter. He spent his whole working life with the fire service and he will be greatly missed.’
Although murder currently carries the death penalty in Malaysia, the government has announced it is preparing to change the law to abolish capital punishment. More than 1,200 people are currently on death row in the country.