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Murdered Sadie Hartley ‘suffered 51 injuries trying to fight off knife attacker’

Sadie Hartley
Sadie Hartley

A businesswoman who died in an orgy of "demonic savagery" tried to fight off her attacker, a court has heard.

Sadie Hartley was found face-down in a pool of blood in the hallway of her £500,000 home in the upmarket village of Helmshore, Lancashire, in January.

The slightly-built 60-year-old had been incapacitated with a 500,000-volt stun gun and then stabbed more than 40 times after answering her front door, Preston Crown Court heard.

But the mother-of-two also had defensive injuries to both her hands and arms, the jury heard.

Sarah Williams, 35, is alleged to have carried out the murder, to get rid of her love rival.

She was already a "kept woman" in a relationship with a "sugar daddy" businessman while having an affair with ex-fireman Ian Johnston, 57, Ms Hartley's partner, and the "obsessive and jealous" younger woman wanted her out of the way, it is claimed.

On Wednesday, Home Office pathologist Dr Philip Lumb detailed the catalogue of injuries Ms Hartley suffered.

Dr Lumb told the jury there were more than 51 injuries in total and there was evidence that the stun gun had been pushed against the left side of Ms Hartley's head.

She also suffered 24 stab wounds and 17 slash wounds to the face, head, neck, chest, back, arms and right leg.

They included wounds to the depth of nearly 8in (20cm) - up to the hilt of the kitchen knife allegedly used by Williams.

Ms Hartley suffered deep stab wounds to her face, one of which went through her face and out the other side, with a similar wound to her neck, which cut a main artery.

Her tongue and spinal column was also cut by the blade and the tip had penetrated her right eye.

There were further injuries to both hands and arms, with the blade going right through her right thumb and right arm, which Dr Lumb said were "typical" defence wounds from fighting off a knife attacker.

He added: "Almost certainly there's been an effort to defend against a knife attack."

One injury to Ms Hartley's back was described as 8in or 20cm deep, which sliced her liver and almost emerged in the front of her chest.

Some of the injuries would have required "considerable force" to inflict, Dr Lumb said.

Williams and co-accused Katrina Walsh, 56, are alleged to have plotted the murder for 17 months, travelling to Germany to buy the stun gun.

The women, both from Chester, deny murder on January 14 this year.

The trial continues.