A DENTIST stabbed a love rival four times in his back and chest when he returned home to find the man with his wife, a court heard.

Phillip Gale 'flew into a rage' stabbing Andrew Smith repeatedly in anger at the home he shared with his wife of 13 years in Foulridge, jurors at Preston Crown Court was told.

In the aftermath of the attack, Gale seemed boastful and told officers he had stabbed Smith as he was giving his wife cocaine.

However he later claimed he was acting in self defence when he took the carving knife and plunged it four times into Smith’s body - leaving him fighting for his life on the hallway floor.

Preston Crown Court heard Gale and his wife Jane Masters each had extra-marital affairs but in the weeks before the attack had agreed they would not flaunt their romances or bring lovers back to the house.

During a 'clearing the air conversation', Masters had admitted an ongoing relationship to her husband, not with Smith but with another lover.

Opening the trial, Mark Ryan, prosecuting, said: “Although the marriage was effectively over, and although they lived separate lives and neither was faithful to the other, Phillip Gale strongly disapproved of his wife’s relationship with Andrew Smith.”

The court heard Smith and Masters had been close for some time and would stay up late into the night drinking and taking cocaine together.

Masters admitted she was sometimes in her underwear but denied the relationship was sexual, although Smith claimed there had been 'a dabble once or twice'.

Mark Ryan, prosecuting, said: “Whatever the precise nature of the relationship everyone seems to agree that they were very close and would be very flirtatious towards each other. Rightly or wrongly, Phillip Gale believed something sexual was going on.”

A few days before the attack on October 16, Gale had withheld his wife’s housekeeping money after discovering she had invited Smith into their home and a week earlier Gale threw candles at Smith when he caught him climbing in through a window.

On October 16, Gale was on a day trip to Blackpool with friends from the Foulridge Social Club.

Miss Masters invited Smith to the house and the pair spent the afternoon drinking together, planning Smith would leave before Masters’ husband returned home.

But the pair lost track of time, and when Gale arrived shortly after 9pm he discovered his wife had once again allowed Smith onto the home despite repeated promises she would not.

At around 9pm the pair heard Gale returning home and Masters went to open the door.

She hit her head on the doorframe as she did so and recalls very few of the details of the attack, the court heard.

Jurors were told Smith recalled Gale coming into the kitchen and telling him to leave.

Mr Ryan said: “He looked and saw the carving knife in Philip Gale’s hand.”

Smith suffered four stab wounds, two to his back and two to the front of his torso.

When emergency services arrived at the scene they found Gale calmly smoking a cigarette on the settee while his wife cradled Mr Smith’s head in her hands.

Mark Ryan, prosecuting, said: “Phillip Gale at that time was proud and boastful about what he had done.”

When Miss Masters told police Gale had stabbed Mr Smith, Gale held his hands in front of him and said: “Arrest me. I know what I’ve done.”

In the police custody suite, he asked: "He was giving my wife cocaine. That’s why I knifed him.”

However he later claimed he was acting in self defence when he attacked Mr Smith with the carving knife.

Smith’s injuries were described as life threatening and he underwent emergency surgery and spent time in intensive care following the incident.

Gale denies attempted murder and wounding with intent.
Mr Ryan said: “Although Phillip Gale was seriously provoked by the behaviour of Andrew Smith and his wife, when he deliberately took that kitchen knife and stabbed him four times in the back and chest his intention was to kill.

“Miss Masters relationship with Mr Smith seems to be complicated. Both agree they were close and both agree they would spend a lot of time together.

“Miss Masters says or suggests the relationship was not sexual, describing them being like two girlfriends, who stayed up talking, drinking and sometimes taking cocaine into the early hours.

“She was very comfortable with him. She would sometimes be with him in her underwear or would go to the toilet in front of him.

“Phillip Gale strongly objected to this relationship, possibly because of Mr Smith’s habit of taking cocaine and giving cocaine to Miss Masters.

“Whatever the precise nature of the relationship everyone seems to agree that they were very close and would be very flirtatious towards each other."