Monday 22 January 2018

Killer said victim 'was in Ireland'

UK woman who buried friend in garden denies cash motive

Ann Browning tried to conceal her companion William Williamson's death 'by both lies and forged documents'
William Williamson

Laura Harding

A CLEANING lady who beat her 82-year-old companion over the head with a rounders bat before burying him in the garden, tried to explain his disappearance by saying he had travelled to Ireland.

Ann Browning (54), hit retired postman William Williamson over the head seven times so she could access the £250,000 he had made from the sale of his house, a hearing at Guildford Crown Court in the UK was told.

She then stripped him naked, bound his legs with a belt, wrapped him in a shower curtain and put him head-first in a grave she had dug in the back garden of the home they shared, the court heard. Within days of his death she had transferred £140,000 of the money from the sale of his house from their joint account into her personal account.

When challenged, she told "a number of elaborate lies" about Mr Williamson's whereabouts, including telling police he was in Ireland for a funeral.

She also forged documents using his signature to close a post-office account in his name, saying he was moving to a care home.

Richard Bendall, prosecuting, said: "The crown's case is that this was a murder for financial gain of an elderly and vulnerable victim."

He added Mr Williamson had an estate of well over £250,000 and that he frequently gave money to Browning, with whom he was "besotted".

Mr Bendall said: "There is clear evidence of regular attempts to conceal Mr Williamson's death by both lies and forged documents."

In a police interview, Browning admitted killing Mr Williamson. She said she planned to turn herself in after her son's wedding.

She said she lashed out in anger after he told her he had changed his mind about living together and instead wanted to move to Ireland.

Mr Bendall told the hearing: "When asked to tell the police everything she knew about William Williamson's disappearance, she said: 'Yes, I confess to his murder. I killed him.'

"She said . . . he had promised to help her out and that she would not have to work as a cleaner any more."

He added: "She said that they had an argument and said: 'I just lost my temper. I really lost it because he had made all these promises', adding, 'Regretfully, in a really split rage of temper, I reached over and hit him over the head . . . I can't remember how many times I hit him but I know I killed him, and then from that point there's no going back, is there?"'

He said she said she killed him on September 11 last year and she admitted there was a lot of blood but she cleaned the mess up.

The barrister told the court she said she had enlarged a hole in the garden where she had dug out the trunk of a tree.

Mr Bendall said: "If the grave was even partially dug in advance, the prosecution would say that suggests a degree of planning."

Browning pleaded guilty to murder but disputes the prosecution's case that the killing was financially motivated.

The defence argue the pair were close, platonic friends and she killed him in a fit of anger.

The hearing is expected to last until tomorrow and is taking place to determine Browning's motive for the murder.

Irish Independent

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