Penny Jackson, a supporter of the restrictions, logged onto Facebook just days after the UK entered its third lockdown national.

‘Stay at home. Save lives’, proclaims the frame she added to her profile on January 17 this year. It is so ironic, considering the horrors that took place in her home less than a year later.

David, her retired Army officer husband, was able to share a Somerset bungalow with her. Tensions in their 24-year-old marriage quickly reached boiling point. 

After a row over a delicious dinner to celebrate her birthday, Jackson stabbed David, 78, three times with a kitchen knives. The final, fatal blow was delivered after he dialled 999 with the emergency services still on line. When police arrived, they found Jackson’s handwritten confession.

According to the former Ministry of Defence accountant, she had lost control due to decades of verbal abuse and physical abuse. She claimed that retired Lieutenant Colonel David Jackson was a bully who pushed the former Ministry of Defence accountant to the limit until she could no longer take it.

No remorse: At the end of a furious row following a gourmet dinner to celebrate her 66th birthday, Jackson stabbed 78-year-old David three times with a kitchen knife (pictured, Jackson in her pyjamas before being taken away by police)

Jackson did not remorse after stabbing David three times with her kitchen knife during a row following a dinner celebrating her 66th birthday. Jackson was wearing her pyjamas when she was arrested by police.

She hoped that her testimony would convince the jury to convict her of the lesser offense of manslaughter. But the jury’s verdict was clear: Penny Jackson killed her husband in coldblood and she must now expect a long sentence in prison.

But there are still some troubling questions about this unusual case. For how on earth is it possible that petty rows about a remote control – not to mention an Aga-baked bubble and squeak side dish served on the night Mr Jackson died – escalated so rapidly into murder just weeks before their silver wedding anniversary? 

Or that Jackson could be so ruthless about attacking her husband with her new 8in ProCook filleting knife that she casually told the operator who took David’s 999 call, ‘his abdomen is buggered’ before adding: ‘I might go and stab him again’?

The couple appeared to be the epitome respectability, a retired Army officer with his bubbly wife, a civil servant who had lived and worked in France, Germany, and Sierra Leone. 

Their friends thought they were enjoying a happy retirement. They spent weeks in Queyssac, south-west France, on Caribbean cruises, and even throwing dinner parties at their bungalow in Berrow in Somerset.

Jackson even joked when police arrested her, in her nightwear, asking them: ‘Do you usually have murderers where they’re wearing Marks & Spencer pyjamas?’

But, as the Mail has discovered, the Jacksons’ turbulent marriage was founded on a legacy of infidelity, tragedy, and lies, all of which poisoned their relationship.

The final, fatal blow was delivered after he had dialled 999, with the emergency services still on the line. When police arrived, they found Jackson’s handwritten confession (pictured)

After he dialled 999, the emergency services were still on the line, the final fatal blow was delivered. When police arrived, they found Jackson’s handwritten confession (pictured)

Both were opinionated and stubborn, and both were heavy drinkers. According to friends and family members who spoke exclusively to this newspaper only, their rows were fueled by alcohol and sparked even by the slightest thing.

And despite mother-of-three Jackson’s attempt to paint herself as a victim, she had left three marriages before she ended up with Mr Jackson, whom she married in 1996.

As one of her former brothers-in-law puts it: ‘I can’t honestly see Penny, especially the way she’s disposed of three other husbands, being someone who would take abuse for all those years.’

Stewart Warrender, whose brother Alan, Penny’s third husband, killed himself in 1993 after Penny left him, adds: ‘Narcissistic is probably the best word for the way she is. No empathy. For somebody to be like that there’s got to be something wrong with them.’

Indeed, it became clear throughout Jackson’s three-week trial that the marriage had been volatile to the point of explosive for decades. Both sides had warning signs. In court, David’s daughter from his first marriage, Jane Calverley, described Penny as more than her husband’s equal, saying she would ‘bait him’.

‘He would squirm and look embarrassed, especially if we were out in company,’ she said.

Jackson’s friend, Veronica Statham, said of Penny: ‘She could become quite overwhelming after a few drinks.’

Pictured: Penelope and David Jackson

On the surface, the pair (pictured together) appeared to be the epitome of respectability, but, as the Mail has discovered, the Jacksons’ turbulent marriage was founded on a legacy of infidelity, tragedy, and lies, all of which poisoned their relationship

David’s own brother, Alan Jackson, told the Mail this week that he was an ‘arrogant bully’ and that ‘Penny learned not to answer back when there was an argument brewing and they’d been drinking.’

Jackson’s own daughter said that her mother ‘could get carried away and get a bit loud’.

Given the frailty of their marriage, perhaps the most important question of all is why neither of them left?

But Birmingham-born David was Penny’s fourth husband. She was his third wife. Aside from their occasional furious rows, she placed a high value on her life as an army officer’s wife, enjoying all the middle-class trappings that came with it: Private school for her daughter, holidays abroad, coffee mornings and pilates classes with friends, as well as considerable savings and three pensions.

Additional clues can also be traced back to her troubled childhood. Her mother was married to her father but she was not with him when she was born in Woolwich in South London in February 1955. 

Placed in foster care when she was ten days old, she didn’t see her parents again until she was 12. It wasn’t until 1974 that her birth was correctly re-registered after her mother and her real father finally married in 1973.

They were living in Somerset at the time and Penny was already married to Melvyn Porter, a Weston-super-Mare builder, in December 1972, when she was 17. Their first daughter, Rebecca was born one year later. Their second daughter, Victoria, was born in 1977. Jackson left when the youngest was just two years old.

In court, she described her first husband as ‘violent’ and unfaithful and said ‘I decided I wanted more from the relationship’. Melvyn Porter is ill, but Janet Porter, his second wife denied her claims. ‘That woman is utterly shameless,’ she said from her home in Highbridge, Somerset. ‘You can’t believe a single word that comes out of her mouth.

But despite the mother-of-three's attempt to paint herself as a victim, the jury's verdict was clear; Penny Jackson murdered her husband in cold blood. Pictured: Their daughter Isabelle Potterton (centre) on her wedding day with parents Penelope Jackson (left) and David (right)

Despite the mother of three trying to paint herself as a victim the jury found that Penny Jackson had murdered her husband in cold-blood. Pictured: Their daughter Isabelle Potterton (right) at her wedding with Penelope Jackson (left), and David (right).

‘She will say whatever suits her at the time. She took everything from him. Everything.

‘He went off to work one morning and when he came home that evening, she had vanished with their two daughters and she had completely stripped the house of everything including the carpets.

‘She told the girls that their father had died. It took Melvyn years to track them down again.’

Penny’s daughter, 44-year-old Victoria Mullins, added: ‘I don’t believe dad abused my mother and I know he did not have an affair. So many lies have been told by so many people.’

26-year old Jackson married Tony Rothwell, a fellow Ministry of Defence civil servant. In court she claimed that their ‘loving friendship’ ‘fizzled out’ and they divorced. When the Mail contacted Mr Rothwell, he declined to respond.

Jackson was 32 years old when she married her third husband, the 39-year-old Alan Warrender. He was an RAF chief technician. His first wife had died 18 months earlier from cancer and while Penny’s own two daughters were not living with her, she became stepmother to Alan’s two daughters.

In October 1990, she gave birth to Isabelle, her third child. At that time, the family was living in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Two years later, the marriage was also over. As 43-year-old Alan was in Saudi Arabia, Penny had an affair with the man who would be her fourth husband. After Alan took his own life in April 1993, his inquest, which found he died by carbon monoxide poisoning, was reported beneath the headline: ‘Man took his life after marital stress’.

‘He was found in the garage. He was drunk apparently, emotional, because she’d been having an affair,’ says his brother, Stewart Warrender. ‘I was never fully satisfied with the inquest verdict. I was skeptical about a suicide. It could have been more coercion. I feel strongly it wasn’t properly investigated. I’ve always thought that.’

He added that there was ill-feeling in the family because Penny ‘benefited enormously’ from Alan’s death. ‘Alan’s kids from his first marriage didn’t get a bean. Penny inherited everything and was entitled to his pension too.’

When Penny met Penny, Mr Jackson was married to Sheila Jackson, his second wife. After leaving school at 16, he joined Royal Transport Corps as a 17-year-old and worked his way up to the top before joining the MoD. In 1964, he married Patricia, his first wife. They had two daughters and one son. In the aftermath of Alan’s suicide, Penny changed her name by deed poll to Jackson.

Crime scene: The Somerset bungalow owned by Penny and David Jackson, as seen on February 13 with officers outside

Crime scene: Penny and David Jackson’s Somerset bungalow, as seen by officers outside

She and David married in 1996, by which time they were living near an army base in Hampshire and raising Penny’s youngest daughter, Isabelle, to believe that David was her real father. She didn’t discover the truth until, as a teenager, she was contacted by one of her half-sisters from Alan Warrender’s first marriage.

Another tragedy followed. Two years after Penny and David’s wedding, David’s 28-year-old son Gavin, from his first marriage, took his own life, leaving a suicide note in which he is said to have written that he didn’t want to end up like his father.

In court, Penny alleged that David became aggressive in the wake of Gavin’s suicide. Her daughter Isabelle backed up her claims, recalling how, when she was eight, David held a knife to her mother’s throat. He also pinned her mother against a wall. On yet another occasion, David smashed the mug Isabelle had bought for Mother’s Day. David’s own brother, Alan Jackson, told the Mail that he could be an ‘arrogant bully’.

‘No-one deserves to die the way he did but I can believe that Penny would have been pushed to her limits,’ he said. ‘I don’t think anyone will ever really know what kind of a life she had with David.’

This was the argument made by Jackson’s defence barrister Clare Wade, the same QC who represented Sally Challen, who served nine years in prison for murdering her husband Richard with a hammer before a ground-breaking appeal in 2019 saw her conviction reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Jackson was more than equal to Challen’s husband. As she said in court: ‘I could have left quietly.’

In December 2020, she summoned police to the couple’s house after a row about the TV remote control ended up with Jackson locking her husband in the conservatory. He used a wood-burning stove poker to get out.

After an operation to replace the battery that was in his brain, he had just returned from hospital. He had been experiencing tremors in his hands and arms. He had also had chemotherapy for prostate cancer and bowel cancer, as well as a knee replacement. When asked if she wanted to take the matter further, Jackson told officers: ‘Part of me wants to make him pay for it, but that’s spite.’

Pictured: David Jackson in uniform

Military man: Birmingham-born David was Penny’s fourth husband. She was his third wife. Aside from their occasional furious rows, she placed a high value on her life as an army officer’s wife, enjoying all the middle-class trappings that came with it

She added: ‘It’s either we get through it or we get divorced.’ Divorce would have been the best thing but tragically they limped on. Christmas was around the corner. The nation was back in lockdown, and the couple settled down again at home.

Court heard snippets from their life locked down. David enjoyed long phone calls with his daughters while Penny listened to The Archers omnibus on Radio 4 or worked out in the home gym she’d set up in the garage.

But she hinted at her feelings towards her husband during the UK’s first lockdown in April 2020 when she posted a joke photograph of a woman knitting a noose for her husband.

On February 13, three days before Penny’s 66th birthday, the couple ate a Michelin-starred meal of crab, lobster and steak, bought by Penny’s daughter Isabelle who cooked the same at her own house with her husband, sharing the occasion via Zoom.

Their fateful row appears to have stemmed from David’s confusion about potatoes, believing they should have been served with the steak and not the lobster.

Penny said she’d prepare some bubble and squeak to have with the steak but when she took it from the Aga, David accused her of making it look as if he thought the gifted meal wasn’t good enough.

They rowed again towards the end, this time arguing over who had forgotten how to charge their iPads for the Zoom call.

In court, Isabelle’s husband, Tom Potterton recalled: ‘He said to Penny: “You can’t admit when you’re wrong”. He was calm. ‘Penny was upset. You could see that she was crying. My wife thought it best to leave it there so we ended the call.’

Jackson killed her husband only an hour later.