Beds, Herts & Bucks

Louise Lotz: Debby Foxwell guilty of neighbour murder

Debby Foxwell Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption Debby Foxwell killed Louise Lotz in a "sustained, brutal and merciless attack"

A woman who bludgeoned her neighbour to death with a garden spade has been found guilty of murder.

Debby Foxwell had a "visceral hatred" for Louise Lotz - a "hoarder" she blamed for her inability to sell her home, St Albans Crown Court heard.

She killed her after an argument in what prosecutors called a "sustained, brutal and merciless attack".

Foxwell, of Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, will be sentenced on 20 March.

The 41-year-old had denied murder throughout her trial but had admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

'It's over, I've done it'

The jury heard there had been problems between the two women, who lived next door to each other in Fordwich Road, for at least six years.

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Media captionLouise Lotz murder: Killer repeatedly told police 'no comment'

Prosecutor Alan Blake said: "Initially relations were cordial, but they swiftly deteriorated. As so often in neighbours' dispute, it began over petty matters: boundaries, bins, and borders."

He added: "[Ms Lotz] was something of an untidy hoarder. The rear garden was overgrown and unloved. The interior was cluttered."

Jurors heard that after a row in the back garden on 24 August, the defendant grabbed the victim's phone, picked up a spade and forced her way into Ms Lotz's home and smashed her belongings.

The 64-year-old former councillor, who had been on the phone to police at the time, ran to another house, shouting "help me, help me", but was attacked by Foxwell who hit her four or five times with the side of the spade.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption Louise Lotz was found with head injuries outside her home

Returning home, Foxwell told her partner: "It's over. I have done it," the court heard previously.

Mr Blake said: "It was a sustained, brutal and merciless attack."

The court heard that Foxwell sent a WhatsApp message to a police officer on the night of the murder which read: "When will it stop? When I have smashed her head in - that's when."

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The neighbours had both been banned from taking photographs of each other

Mr Blake said the defendant's "visceral hatred of Louise Lotz intensified" over time. She had previously been prosecuted for assault and criminal damage against Ms Lotz.

On 23 July last year, Community Protection Warning Notices were issued to both women, banning them from harassing, trespassing or taking photographs of each other.

Ms Lotz suffered a fractured skull and died from a "severe traumatic head injury".

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