Bethany Hill murder trial - jury hears closing arguments - The Stratford Observer
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12th Aug, 2022

Bethany Hill murder trial - jury hears closing arguments

Correspondent 21st Jan, 2017

A JURY has heard closing speeches  from the prosecutor and both defence barristers in the trial of the two people accused of carrying out the sadistic killing of Bethany Hill in Stratford.

Stephen Linehan QC, prosecuting in the trial at Warwick Crown Court, maintained that Kayleigh Woods and Jack Williams carried out the killing together.

Woods, 23, of Hertford Road, Stratford, and Williams, 21, who was said to have been living with her at the time, have both pleaded not guilty to Beth’s murder on February 3 last year.

Beth’s body was discovered by the police and paramedics in the bathroom of Woods’s ground-floor flat, where she was also living, after a 999 call from Woods at just after 7pm.

But by then Beth’s blood-soaked body had been lying in the flat for more than 12 hours after, it is alleged, her wrists and ankles had been bound with tape and her throat had been cut.

Woods, in her evidence, has blamed Williams alone for the alleged ‘sadistic killing,’ and denied playing any part in it.

Williams did not give evidence, but the jury heard from two psychiatrists who have suggested that he was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time because of mental illness.

Addressing the jury, Mr Linehan argued that the killing took place over a long period, during which Beth had been bound with duct tape and subjected to repeated cuts to her neck before the fatal wound, and could not have been done without them both agreeing to it.

“We say this was a sadistic killing done by Jack Williams to gain a perverted pleasure, and Kayleigh Woods joined in with her lover to please him.”

After first trying to blame Woods, and being told that she had accused him of the killing, Williams had ‘reached for the blackout and mental health story,’ suggested Mr Linehan.

He pointed out that Williams had told a custody officer he would only be going down for manslaughter.

Mr Linehan said that after the killing Woods and Williams had been kissing and cuddling on the sofa.

And he commented: “Think about if she hadn’t taken part, and the horror she would feel for this man. You wouldn’t let him cuddle you, you wouldn’t let him near you.”

Rachel Brand QC, for Woods, said Woods must have shared an intent to kill or seriously injure Beth to be guilty of murder, but there was no evidence she had ever shown a desire to hurt her.

Miss Brand posed the question: “Why would her attitude change so dramatically in the space of an hour-and-a-half after he came home to make her want to be part of a sadistic and sexually-motivated killing?”

Of Woods’s actions afterwards, she argued that although the jury may be disgusted by them, they did not show Woods had been involved in the killing, and she could have been charged with perverting the course of justice or assisting an offender.

Michael Duck QC, for Williams, said there was evidence he had sought help for his deteriorating mental health in 2015, both from his GP and trying to get admitted to St Michael’s psychiatric unit in Warwick.

“What sort of sexual fantasist, as the prosecution say he is, goes to get help?” Mr Duck posed.

Williams had been detained under the Mental Health Act for assessment after an incident in October 2015, which Mr Duck said had ‘come from nowhere,’ when he had told Woods to run, then repeatedly stabbed the door of the bathroom where she took refuge.

Mr Duck argued that, despite Woods’s attitude towards Williams now, when speaking of that incident she had said ‘it was becoming apparent he was unwell.’

It had been developing since early 2015, and she had been to the doctor with him.

Mr Duck said Woods herself had said: “I was concerned he was becoming unwell. He was complaining of blacking out and having feelings of violence.  He would change suddenly from a standing start.  He was complaining he had a fear of hurting people, and it was frightening him.”

And the barrister commented: “That comes from someone who was doing her damnedest to say what she could that was detrimental to his interests.

“His behaviour in February is consistent with the way he’s described as behaving in October 2015.  It’s consistent that he was suffering from significant mental health illness.

“I can’t provide you with any positive case as to what happened in that flat.  The reasons are plain, that Jack Williams said he suffered a blackout and he doesn’t know what happened in that intervening period.

“Your reaction may, as Mr Linehan says, be to say ‘pull the other one,’ but that would be to ignore the evidence in this case,” argued Mr Duck.

The trial continues.

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