Lancashire

Sadie Hartley death: Love rival murder plot 'put in diary'

Sadie Hartley Image copyright Family of Sadie Hartley
Image caption Sadie Hartley was stabbed 40 times at her house on Sunny Bank Road in Helmshore

A plot to murder a woman's love rival was recorded in the diary of one of the accused, a court has heard.

Sarah Williams, 35, told Preston Crown Court, she did not know why her friend Katrina Walsh, 56, wrote about a plot to murder Sadie Hartley, 60.

Ms Hartley was paralysed with a stun gun and stabbed 40 times in Helmshore, Lancashire on 14 January.

Both Ms Williams and Ms Walsh deny murdering the mother-of-two.

The crown alleges Ms Williams' obsessive desire for Ms Hartley's partner Ian Johnston, 57, led her to incapacitate Ms Hartley with a 500,000-volt stun gun before murdering her.

'Endless murder plots'

It is alleged she put a tracking device on Mr Johnston's car in the weeks prior to the murder and discovered that the couple were living together in Helmshore.

But Ms Williams told the court it was Ms Walsh's idea to buy the stun gun and the tracker.

Gordon Cole QC, took his client Ms Williams through entries recorded in diaries that were recovered at Ms Walsh's workplace.

In September 2014, Ms Walsh wrote: "Sarah came round so got caught up in endless murder plots for Ian's other half."

Mr Cole asked Ms Williams: "Were there any murder plots discussed between you and Katrina Walsh?"

She replied: "No, not at any time in any way."

Another diary entry read: "We're also seriously talking of getting rid of her opponent. I agree is probably a good play... she does seem to be a totally evil bitch."

Ms Williams told the court: "I couldn't account for what she wrote and why."

'Hare-brained'

The jury heard the stun gun and tracker were bought when the women visited Germany in December.

Ms Williams, who said the pair had planned to visit a Celtic museum and Christmas markets, said when she asked Ms Walsh why she bought the stun gun she was told it was for "self-defence".

She said she thought Ms Walsh bought the tracker because of her "excessive and obsessive" interest in the Channel 4 programme Hunted, where people try to avoid former police officers and intelligence officers for 28 days.

Ms Williams added she thought the tracker was for one of Ms Walsh's "hare-brained" business schemes.

The case continues.

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