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Love rival murder accused called herself “she devil” and “little psycho”

Sadie Hartley
Sadie Hartley

A woman accused of murdering a love rival with "demonic savagery" consulted Tarot Cards and called herself a "She Devil" and "little psycho" in text messages, a court heard.

The series of texts were recovered from the phone of Sarah Williams, 35, after her arrest for the murder of businesswoman, Sadie Hartley, 60, at her home in Helmshore, Lancashire, in January.

They showed secret exchanges with ex-fireman Ian Johnston, 57, who had dumped "obsessive" Williams for Ms Hartley but continued an illicit affair, Preston Crown Court heard.

"Jealous" Williams is alleged to have shot Ms Hartley with a stun gun and stabbed her 40 times in an "orgy of violence" after she answered the door to her killer at the £500,000 home she shared with Mr Johnston.

Williams was already in a relationship with at least one other man, her "Sugar Daddy", while in contact with Mr Johnston, the jury heard.

Williams, and Katrina Walsh, 56, a horse riding instructor, who allegedly helped with the "murder mission" to kill Ms Hartley, have both denied murder.

The jury heard Walsh used Tarot Cards with Williams during the time they planned the "perfect murder".

In voluminous diaries penned by Walsh seized by police, she wrote of Williams: "She's got to learn that some men say they will leave their comfortable other half even when they never intend to do no such thing."

The text messages showed Williams messaging Mr Johnston, beginning in September 2013, reading: "I went to bed thinking about you, then woke up at 3am wide awake. Nice thoughts, shame you weren't there."

Later the texts reveal Mr Johnston agonising over the affair. In a message back he tells Williams: "I was not looking for or expecting you to appear. Sadie has been through hell. I've spent my life making people safe. I can't tolerate hurting people. Sometimes I just hate who I am."

Williams then confides in a text to a friend, "fireman is just totally awesome...I'm hook line and sinker," as she tries to progress the relationship.

She adds: "It's too early to have this conversation, being the little psycho that I am I want to push it along very quickly. By his own admission he should not be with her and does not love her."

In November 2013 in a text to co-accused Katrina Walsh, 56, Williams says: "The fireman has feelings for the golden haired, brilliantly creative and creatively brilliant She Devil.

"I'm screaming at a pitch where only dogs and bats can hear me."

The court then heard of a long exchange of texts between Williams and Mr Johnston on Christmas Eve 2013, with the defendant seemingly eager to spend Christmas with him.

Mr Johnston texts: "Sarah, please get that I can't have you here at this time. This is too difficult. Sorry."

A second one states: "You knew I was seeing Sadie when all this started. It's not about you, it's about me."

In a series of texts Williams replies: "I'm just never good enough...I should not be feeling like this and sobbing my heart out. I'm sorry for loving you, I'm sorry for caring..."

Mr Johnston tells her he has "no idea" how she finances her lifestyle of foreign holidays, travel and horse-riding, in an apparent reference to her "Sugar Daddy", a wealthy man named David Hardwick.

Williams texts back: "The relationship with David has been dead for a very long time.

"I don't f*** him for money to finance my life style so if I have any sex it is with you and absolutely nobody else."

Mr Johnston tells her Sadie has been "kind and caring" and he will not just "blow her out", before adding: "I do like you but this is way too heavy."

Williams replies: "I'm sorry I want to love and be loved and be happy. I'm sorry it would be much better for you if I just wanted a sh*g."

Mr Johnston tells her: "I like sex with you, the best ever."

Williams replies: "Sex with you is amazing, I love it and I want you all the time."

Later Williams sent a "spiteful" letter to Ms Hartley revealing the affair, saying her partner was enjoying "fantastic" sex with her.

Williams told friends Ms Hartley, who ran her own medical communications business, was a "bitch troll" who had "trapped" Mr Johnston with her money.

But the letter failed to break up the couple and Williams and Walsh went on to execute the murder plan, it is alleged.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.