Alison Lumsden (53) was stabbed over 30 times in her home by her husband, Christopher Lumsden (52). Only five days before she was murdered, she told Lumsden she wished to end the marriage. Lumsden denied murder, but pled guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to five years. He is now out of jail, serving half the sentence including time spent awaiting trial. Lumsden was a managing partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons, but has since been disbarred. Alison Lumsden leaves behind two children, Thomas (20) and Kate (17).
The Telegraph (11 Feb 2006)
Lawyer jailed for killing wife tells of shame and remorse
By Nigel Bunyan
A lawyer who stabbed his wife to death five days after she told him she was having an affair made an emotional courtroom apology yesterday for what he described as “this appalling tragedy”.
Christopher Lumsden, 52, made his unusual intervention moments after he was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.
His imprisonment since the killing on March 16 last year means he will serve only 19 months of a five-year sentence.
Lumsden, formerly a managing partner in the international law firm Pinsent Masons, stabbed his wife, Alison, 53, more than 30 times with a kitchen knife.
He launched the “ferocious” attack in their Cheshire home after finding out that she wanted to leave him for a family friend. Afterwards he claimed to have virtually no recollection of the assault.
Yesterday Lumsden, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in the summer before the killing, asked his barrister, Peter Birkett, QC, to withdraw his own mitigation speech so that he could address the court himself.
He thanked the judge for allowing him to remain seated. Reading from handwritten notes, he said he wanted to offer “a crumb of comfort” to his relatives and his wife’s family.
Lumsden, a father of two, spoke haltingly, his voice sometimes breaking with emotion. He said that for 25 years his wife’s family had offered him “love, kindness, good humour and support”. He admitted that they had been “horribly repaid”.
Lumsden, of Bowdon, near Altrincham, Cheshire, said his memory remained “a muddy pool” allowing only occasional glimpses below the surface.
He sought to explain why he had not broken down in the witness box while talking about “the ultimate tragedy”, but had done so while discussing his illness and the deaths of his parents.
“I say because the latter things are real. The tragedy itself remains for me both surreal and nightmarish. It is only when reality intervened during my cross-examination that it hit home. I am hoping it will hit home more often as – if I can – I recover.”
Lumsden, whose children, Thomas, 20, and Kate, 17, were in the public gallery, went on: “If there was anything I could do to atone for this appalling tragedy, or even reduce by the smallest amount the anguish, pain and suffering I have caused, I would do it.
“If there was anything I could say that expressed the depth of my shame, sorrow and remorse, I would say it.
“But there is nothing I can say. I can only apologise to the court, to everyone involved, to the two families, but most of all to my own children who have been incredible in the face of this appalling tragedy.”
Lumsden then struggled to his feet and gripped the side of the dock as Mr Justice Mitting passed sentence.
The judge told him his wife’s killing had indeed been a tragedy, but not one that was caused – as he had claimed – by her referring to him as a cripple. “I am sure she did not say that to you and your children should know she was blameless.
“This event occurred in significant part because of your depressive condition. But for that you would not have snapped as you did.”
Despite this, Lumsden retained “a substantial degree” of responsibility for his actions. “You knew when you picked up a knife and advanced towards your wife that you were going to plunge it into her.
“When she glimpsed you in the mirror you had the opportunity to turn back. You did not. You stabbed her with lethal intent. What occurred, therefore, was not just a tragedy but a crime, and a serious crime.”
The judge said it was to Lumsden’s credit that he had accepted criminal responsibility from the outset. He was therefore able to keep his sentence at “a moderate level”.
He believed the Parole Board was unlikely to delay his release beyond the half-way point of his sentence. The 11 months he had spent on remand would count towards his release.
The court heard that Lumsden had been diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and doctors suggested that he might have only three years to live.
The couple moved into separate bedrooms and Lumsden, deeply affected by his mother’s death last January, began to shut himself off from their social life.
Mrs Lumsden continued to socialise alone and embarked on an affair with a family friend, Roger Flint, in the month before the killing.
She told her husband of the relationship on March 11. That evening she sent Mr Flint two text messages. One read in part: “It’s done. All calm and reasonable.”
Five days later Mrs Lumsden and Mr Flint had dinner in Plumley, then drove back to Bowdon separately, believing they were starting a new life together.
Minutes later she was lying dead on her bedroom floor.
The Telegraph (09 Apr 2008 )
Lawyer who killed wife may inherit £2m
By Richard Alleyne
A lawyer who killed his unfaithful wife has been freed after serving less than half of his jail sentence and could now inherit her £2 million fortune.
Christopher Lumsden, 55, was released on licence after serving only two years of a five-year sentence for stabbing his wife Alison to death after she admitted having an affair.
He was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter after claiming he was suffering from an abnormality of the mind at the time of the killing.
Lumsden, who served his time in Sudbury Open Prison in Derbyshire, could now inherit the £1.4 million home in Bowdon, near Altrincham, Cheshire, where he carried out the attack. That would be in addition to the £1 million his 53-year-old wife left him in her will.
Sheila Hannam-Andrews, of Support After Murder and Manslaughter, a group for the relatives of people who have been killed, said: “The sentence is ridiculous and now it looks like he will benefit from everything.”
Lumsden, formerly a managing partner in the international law firm Pinsent Masons, stabbed the mother of his two children more than 30 times with a kitchen knife after she returned from a dinner date with her lover.
He launched the “ferocious” attack in their Cheshire home five days after finding out that she wanted to leave him for the family friend. Afterwards he claimed to have virtually no recollection of the assault.
In addressing the court during his trial, Lumsden said he wanted to offer “a crumb of comfort” to his relatives and his wife’s family. Watched by his children, Thomas, 20, and Kate, 17, in the public gallery, he went on: “If there was anything I could do to atone for this appalling tragedy, or even reduce by the smallest amount the anguish, pain and suffering I have caused, I would do it. If there was anything I could say that expressed the depth of my shame, sorrow and remorse, I would say it.”
He served only two years of his sentence because the 11 months he had spent in jail before the trial was taken into account. The court heard that, before the killing, Lumsden had been diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and doctors suggested that he might have only three years to live.
The couple moved into separate bedrooms and Lumsden began to shut himself off from their social life. Mrs Lumsden continued to socialise alone and embarked on an affair with a family friend, Roger Flint, in the month before the killing.
Lumsden will remain “on licence” until March 2010, which means he is liable to be recalled to prison if he commits any other offence. He is not free to return to work as a lawyer because he was struck off while he was in jail.
Usually a person convicted of manslaughter cannot inherit from the person they have killed. In this case, it is likely the money will be placed in trust for Lumsden’s two children. Lumsden would have to apply to a court which has the power to make an exception and allow the inheritance depending on the circumstances of the case, for example if the killer suffered from a mental disorder at the time of the death.