A DAD-OF-TWO who is accused of murdering his wife wept as he told a court he had awoken on the sofa to find her ‘clawing’ at his neck with a knife.

Stephen Barnsdale-Quean, 42, denies murdering Chantelle, the mother of his two young daughters, at their home on Upperwood Road, Darfield, on March 4.

"I was awoken by something clawing at my neck, the sensation was that it was biting backwards and forwards," he told Sheffield Crown Court. 

"It was a bit of a shock - not something I expected to be woken up by.

"She had the knife in her hand and it was going at my neck.

"I was looking at her, it was Chantelle but it wasn’t her. There was a look in her eyes that I’d never seen before - there was a vacancy."

Barnsdale-Quean broke down as he told the court how he cowered on the settee and held up his hands to protect himself from his wife's alleged blows before trying to get away.

"I went to push her shoulders hoping to disarm her," he added. "I missed and she took one final lunge with the knife and it went straight into my stomach."

He said the first he knew of 35-year-old Chantelle’s death was in the back of an ambulance when an officer told him he was arrested for murder and he had ‘no idea why’.

When defence barrister Bryan Cox QC asked him if he had killed Chantelle, he replied: "Why would I? I loved her. I have got no reason to. We had always worked through bad times before."

The trial continues.