Woman guilty of sister's stab murder in Chartham

image captionPhoebe Barton (left) lived with her sister in Chartham in the house where they grew up

A woman has been found guilty of stabbing her sister to death in a "frenzied attack".

The body of Karen Barton, 51, who was stabbed 27 times, was discovered by dog walkers in a field near Canterbury, Kent, on 9 May.

Phoebe Barton, 50, of Highland Road, Chartham, was convicted of her murder following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

Barton had admitted manslaughter but denied murder.

Jurors were told Barton, who lived with her sister in Highland Road, began drinking and behaving erratically after her daughter Rachel died in a car crash in 2008.

The court was told the pair were spotted going for a walk in the village after buying cans of strong lager at an off-licence.

'Trail of blood'

During police questioning, she admitted she had killed Karen, telling detectives her sister had told her she should be getting over Rachel's death.

Barton said she was so drunk she could barely walk but flew into a rage, the pair struggled and she grabbed a knife from her handbag and stabbed her.

A search was launched after police found a trail of blood leading from a footpath to her sister's home.

Barton was found walking in the dark through the nearby village of Chilham by two officers the following Thursday.

Det Insp Dave Withers of Kent Police said Barton herself described the stabbing as a "frenzied attack".

He added: "This is a tragic case. Phoebe - distraught at the death of her only child - went on to wreck the lives of those close to her, leaving her sister's daughter without a mother.

"Our thoughts can only be with the Barton family at this time. Several members have travelled to Maidstone to give evidence about the deteriorating relationship between the two sisters.

"We faced a huge task looking for Phoebe in a rural area that she had known all her life.

"I would like to thank all those officers who took part in that search and also the members of the public who helped our enquiry."

Barton is due to be sentenced on Tuesday.

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