A Birmingham woman who stabbed her love rival to death has been convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison.
A jury at Warwick Crown Court found Karla Biddle, 32, guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation, after clearing her of murder. The panel spent 17 hours deliberating following a month-long trial.
Biddle's victim, 30-year-old Emma Bradshaw, died of stab wounds last May after the two woman argued about their shared love interest, Ashley Watson, at his Solihull home.
Biddle, of Aldbury Road, Yardley Wood, sobbed as Judge Richard Griffith-Jones passed sentence. He said: "This case is an absolute tragedy in which there can be no winners, only losers.
"You were a respectable, intelligent and successful young woman. I accept that your relationship with the man concerned had ground you down emotionally.
"The uncertainty of his fidelity and commitment to you, and your love for him had caused you a great deal of pain and anxiety which was clearly reflected in perfectly reasonable and understandable inquiries to find out where the truth lay.
"It is also a tragedy because your rival in love was also a thoroughly decent and valuable woman."
Earlier in the trial, the court heard Biddle's long-term partner Mr Watson was sleeping with both women but could not bring himself to tell either the truth.
Jurors were told the defendant met car parts consultant Mr Watson at school and they had been a couple since around 1993.
The pair bought a house together in 2002 and were engaged the following year, but put their wedding plans on hold as cracks developed in the relationship.
Biddle, a graduate in business administration, said her partner met Miss Bradshaw when he changed jobs in October 2003. He moved out in September 2007 to live at the address in Solihull where Miss Bradshaw was fatally stabbed on May 14 last year.
Mr Watson told the trial that he carried on sleeping with Biddle after he moved out and was in love with both women.
On the day of the fatal stabbing Biddle had visited the Solihull home of her ex-partner to confront Miss Bradshaw.
The judge said he accepted that Biddle had not gone to the property armed with a knife, but the other woman had produced the weapon and they became involved in a "struggle".
He said: "Your uncertainty and that curiosity and determination to give yourself peace of mind resulted in you visiting Emma Bradshaw.
"Being faithful to the jury's verdict I do not sentence you on the basis that you took the knife to the scene. The only fair way of sentencing would be to conclude that Emma Bradshaw produced the knife."
The judge said Miss Bradshaw had brandished the blade to warn Biddle to "go away" and cease her "persistent efforts" to talk about the love triangle. He added: "There was a struggle. You must have gained possession of the knife and you, having lost your self control, then used the knife a large number of times."
The judge said he could not ignore the severity of the crime, or the number of times the knife appeared to have been used, adding that the victim sustained a significant number of defensive injuries to her hands.
After the stabbing, Biddle fled the scene in what the judge described as a "profoundly unattractive" act.
Miss Bradshaw, who suffered two stab wounds to the abdomen, was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
The judge said: "I am afraid we reach an area of the case which I find to be profoundly unattractive.
"At a time when she (Miss Bradshaw) was mortally wounded, you left the scene and within a relatively short time had recovered your composure to behave in a way in which you seem to have been thinking coolly and tactically about how to extricate yourself from what you had done."
He said Biddle "indulged in a charade at work", keeping up the pretence that it was a normal day.
Describing Biddle, he added: "She was a respectable woman with no violence in her background, whose actions have resulted in the death of a decent and valuable person who became emotionally involved with the same man...I am sure she regrets what happened".