Lancashire

Sadie Hartley death: Murder suspect told police 'it looks bad'

Sadie Hartley Image copyright Family of Sadie Hartley
Image caption Sadie Hartley was fatally stabbed at her house on Sunny Bank Road in Helmshore

A woman accused of murdering her love rival told police "it looks really bad" as she was questioned about her movements by murder squad detectives.

Sadie Hartley, 60, was stunned with a cattle prod and stabbed at her home in Helmshore, Lancashire, on 14 January.

Sarah Williams, 35, and her friend, Katrina Walsh, 56, are said to have spent 17 months plotting to kill Ms Hartley, Preston Crown Court heard.

The pair, both from Chester, deny murdering the mother of two.

Ms Williams was said to have been obsessed with her ex, Ian Johnston, 57 - Ms Hartley's partner.

Questioned about her movements in the run up to the murder, Ms Williams told police seven days before while Mr Johnston was on a skiing holiday abroad, she drove to his old house and sat outside in her car "like a bloody saddo" as she had done a number of times previously.

But the same night Sadie Hartley received an unexpected delivery of flowers at her home, which "freaked her out".

The prosecution allege this was a dry run by the defendants, for the planned murder a week later.

In police interviews read to the jury, Det Con Bryony Midgley put it to Ms Williams that the delivery was a ruse to confirm the killers had the right address.

"No, you would have to be out of your bloody mind," Ms Williams told the officer.

Det Con Midgley continued: "People do strange things when they are in love."

Ms Williams replied: "That's true."

Image caption Sadie Hartley, a mother-of-two, was found dead in the hallway of her house in Rossendale

The officer said one strange thing would be driving for an hour from her home to sit outside the house of her ex.

Ms Williams replied: "Yes, it's sad. I appreciate it looks really bad."

Det Con Midgley added: "Sadie was stabbed numerous times. In excess of 50 injuries. Are you responsible for those injuries?"

"No. I just would not be capable of doing that to anybody at any time," was the reply.

The customer sales adviser said she was asleep at home when Ms Hartley was killed.

The court heard in further interviews, Ms Williams was asked about CCTV footage, tracking evidence, DNA evidence and the diaries kept by Ms Walsh, all allegedly linking her to the crime.

She replied: "No comment" to further questions, the jury heard.

Ms Williams and riding instructor Katrina Walsh, 56, of Hare Lane, Chester, both deny murder.

Walsh is said to have played a key role in helping her friend to "eliminate" her love rival.

The trial continues.

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