'˜I'd ask how got an injury and he would tell me he had walked into a door'
David Edwards first met his future wife in a courtroom.
Then known as Sharon Manser, Mr Edwards first encountered the mum-of-four when he defended her then partner in an assault case against her in 2000 - and won.
He assisted her the same year in a neighbour dispute.
But it was only in May 2014 their paths met again, when he sent her a friend request on Facebook. The pair chatted for a month before she jokingly invited him around to her home at Bolton Road, Chorley, which she had bought from her ex-partner.
They bonded over bottles of wine and eventually ended up at his £320,000 home on Parkers Wood Close, Chorley, where she would eventually live with him.
It was by all accounts a whirlwind romance and the pair were engaged at Christmas.
But as the world now knows, it was not a bed of roses, the relationship peppered by arguments in public and behind closed doors.
The pair even rowed as they were driven to Birmingham’s jewellery quarter to get her engagement ring because he was unhappy she had obtained a part time job at Bright House in Chorley that involved Saturday shifts - meaning she couldn’t use the season ticket for his favourite club, Chorley FC, which he bought her.
As the relationship became increasingly volatile, David started attending work at Chorley and Preston magistrates courts visibly injured, and also lost weight.
Around the same time, Stanley H Cross retired and the firm, of which David was now a partner, was taken over by his new employer, Kevills.
His former business partner Chris Hall recalls: “I was really concerned at his new relationship. His lifestyle changed.
“After we had cleared out our old office we went for a couple of drink with two long standing colleagues. She was ringing the next day questioning him.
“A couple of weeks later we had a party to welcome the joining of the two firms and whereas he would normally be flat out at 2am, she made him leave at tea-time.”
“Everything she said about Kevills and the job being responsible for his downfall is not true. He had a social life but it did not affect his job. It was only when she came on the scene that it did. He’d never had a day off.
“But when you start not turning up for work with no explanation it causes problems.
“It ended up at the stage where I’d ask how he got an injury and he’d tell me he’d walked into a door.”
Some colleagues witnessed her behaviour for themselves. She was seen slapping David at a work do, in which she was thrown out of a hotel, and was heard screaming and swearing down the phone by office staff.
On June 28, 2015, exactly a year since he went to her house for the first time, they wed in a chapel in Las Vegas in a 10-minute ceremony.
During the nine-minute wedding video she says: “You’re my true soulmate.”
He tearfully told her she was “everything he ever wanted”.
But even then he was sporting a black eye – a wound she claimed happened when he accidentally hit himself in the eye with the hotel phone handset as they went to order room service.
His catalogue of injuries continued on their return, along with her erratic behaviour both behind closed doors and in public, including making abusive calls to his office.
David, who was losing weight and drinking more, was seen with a bite to his ear, and cuts. He told one court worker the cuts were caused when she hit him with a glass coffee table.
On some occasions, he did not turn up at work.
Simon Robinson, partner at Kevills, describes David as “undoubtedly one of the best criminal advocates in the North West in his day” and says the firm was very worried about him. He says: “It was obvious to all of us at the firm that David was involved in a destructive relationship. Whilst it was, of course, a terrible shock, we were not entirely surprised at the tragic end to his life and many of us had been warning David that he needed to get away. Whatever the hold Sharon had on David it ended up costing him his life.”