THE estranged wife of murder accused Christopher Hawkins said her husband was particularly close to Ryan.
Valerie Gee told the court yesterday that he had been pleased to have a son.
The pair had three children, Natalie, 16, Donna, 14, and Ryan, four.
Miss Gee said: “He loved Ryan and I would like to think he loved Donna too.”
Under cross-examination she agreed with defence barrister Julian Goose QC that Hawkins had felt “particularly close” to Ryan.
She met Hawkins – who had two daughters from a previous marriage – in the mid-1980s when he was around 26 and she was 20. They married in 1990 and moved into a house on Nabs Lane in Slaithwaite.
In 1998 they moved into the Silent Woman pub in Slaithwaite, which Miss Gee managed.
They left the pub four years later and lived in rented homes.
Miss Gee found work as a booker in her uncle’s taxi company, Slawit and Golcar Cars, on Market Place in Slaithwaite.
Hawkins had various jobs as a welder and sheet-metal worker.
Miss Gee agreed that their relationship could be characterised by “arguments and occasional violence”.
About three years ago she met Lee Tinker, a taxi driver for her uncle’s firm.
Miss Gee said they began a relationship last March. She told Hawkins about this two months later and the pair separated.
Miss Gee was eventually joined by all three of their children, but Hawkins saw Ryan at weekends.
She said Hawkins’ anger was directed at her and Mr Tinker.
On September 23 she spoke to Hawkins on the phone, but she denied she had been cross with him or said that he couldn’t see their son any more.
Later that day she received a call from Mr Tinker saying Donna had been in a stabbing.
At Huddersfield Royal Infirmary she was told that Ryan had died.
Richard Walker, a window fitter who owns the house where the stabbings took place, said he had known Hawkins for 10 years. He added: “He was a friend but not a close friend.’’
He had agreed to let Hawkins rent a room in his house for £50 a week, but he never received any money.
Mr Walker said: “Ryan seemed like a normal four-year-old and had a normal relationship with his father.
“He was definitely happy around his father.”
He added that Hawkins had told him about his wife leaving him for another man, but seemed “pretty calm” about it.
Jurors also heard a written statement from Mr Tinker, who has lived with Miss Gee since last July.
He said that he had begun a sexual relationship her four months earlier but that this had been kept secret from her husband.
He said he did not know Hawkins socially but had occasionally taken him in his cab as a customer.
He said: “I told the taxi company I would seek work outside Slaithwaite to prevent a confrontation with Chris Hawkins.”
The court also heard a statement from Michelle White, who was in Royd Street at the time of the attack.
She said: “I heard a girl scream. I recognised the voice of my nine-year-old daughter, Meghan. I ran over and saw Donna. She had blood all over her, particularly her face and tummy.
“I asked Donna what had happened and she said ‘I’ve been stabbed, my dad’s stabbed me.’ Then she told me: ‘He’s got my brother in the house, Ryan’s still in the house’.”
Mrs White tried to stem the flow of blood and assure Donna that she would survive.
She said: “Donna kept saying she was going to die and she couldn’t breathe.
“I told her she was not going to die, but if I’m honest I thought she was going to die.
“She kept saying: ‘don’t let me die, Michelle’.”
A statement from Waqar Zaman, who owns the nearby Hill Top Stores, was also read to jurors. Along with his friend Mrs Michelle White, he had gone to Donna’s aid.
He said: “I put my hand behind her head and told her to talk to me. Michelle used my T-shirt to stem the flow of blood but it quickly became saturated.”
PC Mark Coulson arrived at the scene of the stabbings at 1:09pm.
He saw Ryan on the sofa.
Along with another PC and a paramedic, he tried to revive the boy using resusci-tation.
Earlier the court was read a statement by pathologist Dr Alfredo Walker who said Donna had suffered multiple stab wounds to the face, chest and right upper arm.
He said: “The stab wounds to the chest and abdomen could have been fatal. Only timely medical intervention prevented the death of the patient.”
Dr Walker also performed the post-mortem on Ryan.
He found nine stab wounds to the arm and chest.
As this evidence was being read out, Hawkins asked to be allowed to leave the courtroom as he was feeling unwell. The judge agreed to this.
Dr Walker said: “Two stab wounds penetrated the heart and would have been responsible for death.”
He also concluded that two other wounds would have required “a severe degree of force”.
And Dr Walker said that two wounds to the forearm were probably the result of Ryan trying to defend himself.
He found that the boy was three feet four inches tall and weighed 17.6kg.
The case continues.