Died 20th September 2013
Marion Vita (48) was stabbed to death at her home in Barrachnie Crescent, Baillieston, Glasgow, Scotland on 20th September 2013. She worked as a Crown Office Manager.
In April 2014, Tony Vita (47), her husband, was jailed for life for her murder. He stabbed her repeatedly after finding out she had been having an affair with someone else, a woman.
At the High Court in Glasgow, Vita was ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years before being eligible for parole.
He had also faced a charge of behaving in a threatening ad abusive manner by sending text messages to Ms Vita and another person.
A jury rejected his claim that Ms Vita had died in an accident after falling on the knife during a struggle.
Detectives who examined the home after the murder found an entry on a calendar in the kitchen for 20th September 2013 which stated: “Marion cheating lesbian whore.”
Vita had also cut his wife out of family photographs and smashed a mug which said “home is where the heart is”.
Ms Vita and Elwira Rumniak had been in a relationship for almost a year. Ms Rumniak told told the prosecutor Douglas Fairley QC they had met in October 2012. She said they wanted to set up home together.
Ms Vita had been staying in Edinburgh with Ms Rumniak but came back to her home to speak to her husband after informing him of the affair by text.
The court heard that Ms Vita’s 11-year-old son found her lying dying on the couch. He told the court: “My mum was unconscious…her lips were quite grey.” He said “She was not moving at all. She was lying on the sofa, sort of on her side.” He said he tried opening his mother’s eyes and talking to her before a 999 call was made.
He said that Ms Rumniak had been one of Ms Vita’s “best friends”, but that his father had “suspicions” about the true extent of their relationship and he had been aware of his parents arguing.
The jury was told that the couple’s neighbour, Helen Colquitt, heard three screams just after 8.00pm on 20th September as she was watching television. She said the screams were immediately followed by a woman shouting: “No, don’t”, followed by the sound of someone running upstairs.
Vita denied the murder claiming that when he told Ms Vita he wanted to kill himself, she took the knife away from him, had it behind her back and accidentally fatally injured herself after falling onto a couch. He claimed he did not realise she was dying. He said she gave him the knife back, he went upstairs and stabbed himself twice in a failed suicide bid.
Advocate depute Douglas Fairley QC prosecuting described Vita as “a manipulative liar” trying to fool the court with his account that his wife died in a tragic accident. The prosecutor reminded the jury: “Pathologist Dr Marjorie Turner told you that it was simply not possible that the stab wound to Marion Vita could have been self inflicted. Dr Turner also said that if they had been grappling for a knife she would have expected to find cuts on Mrs Vita’s hands. How do you stab someone four times, twice almost to the hilt, and not realise it. The answer, according to Dr Turner, is that you don’t.”
Mr Fairley said that Vita had “repeatedly lied about the severity of his injuries. One of the self-inlficted stab wounds was only five millimetres deep.”
In his evidence Vita had no explanation as to why his wife’s blood was on the front of the dressing gown he was wearing and on his glasses.
Police officers who interviewed Vita shortly after the murder said he displayed no grief or sense of loss at the death of his wife. Though he repeatedly broke down during his trial in March, he showed little emotion when he was found guilty and after sentencing.
Note: This report was drawn from reports in the BBC, STV and the Scotsman.
FOD Comment: As he jailed Vita, setting the relatively short tariff of 12 years, temporary judge Sean Murphy QC, made the following extraordinary comment to the killer: “This is an incredibly sad case and has had tragic consequences for everyone who knew her including you (our emphasis). He added “You had lived an exemplary life, but all of that ended when you discovered she was having an affair with another woman.” The judge commented that the incident was a “truly exceptional case given the unusual circumstances” of what went on. He had previously described the case as “unpleasant and distressing”.
Judge Murphy had told the jurors: “You must not speculate and you should not be moved by sympathy or prejudice in reaching your verdict.” The judge’s own comments and the lenient sentence he imposed strongly suggest he may not have taken his own advice.
Regrettably, there is nothing “exceptional” or “unusual” about jealous controlling men killing their female partners when they decide to leave them or develop other relationships. All that is unusual here is that the new relationship was with a woman.
It is of grave concern that in the statement above the judge entirely ignored the “tragic consequences” of Vita’s brutal violence to the victim. Instead he suggests that this “sad case” has had “tragic consequences” for “everyone who knew her” including her murderer. This seems to imply that Marion’s Vita’s actions were in some way to blame for what happened. He does not locate culpability with the murderer, expressing sympathy for a man who brutally killed his wife, stabbing her not once but 4 times, callously leaving her to bleed to death and allowing her to be found by her young son – a man who then lied repeatedly about what he had done.
It is perhaps to be hoped that this ‘temporary’ judge is not too long on the bench.