September 28th, 2016

Bethany Hill murder trial adjourned until January

Bethany Hill murder trial adjourned until January Bethany Hill murder trial adjourned until January

THE TRIAL of two people accused of murdering a young Stratford woman at an address in the town earlier this year has had to be adjourned.

A legal issue on what was to have been the first day of the trial of Kayleigh-Louise Woods and Jack Williams at Warwick Crown Court has meant the case could not get under way.

Woods and Williams, who in July pleaded not guilty to the murder of 20-year-old Bethany Hill at an address in Hertford Road, Stratford, in February, will now not stand trial until January.

Woods (22) of Hertford Road, Stratford, and Williams (21) of Redlands Crescent, Stratford, were both remanded in custody until then.

At an earlier hearing the court was told that Bethany died at an address in Hertford Road some time during the afternoon or early evening of February 3.

The police and an ambulance had been called to the address, where she was found with neck wounds, at around 7pm, and she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards

A plea and case management hearing earlier this year had to be delayed until last month because of concerns over mental health issues in relation to Williams.

And as a jury was due to be sworn for the trial to begin, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones asked prosecutor Stephen Linehan QC whether he had seen a very recent report on Williams which had been prepared by psychiatrist Dr Nicholas Kennedy.

Mr Linehan said he and junior prosecuting barrister Simon Davis, together with the Crown Prosecution Service and the police, had been ‘considering what our approach would be.’

But, in relation to what was in the report, he told the judge: “My advice to those who instruct me would be that you can’t embark on a trial in the circumstances.”

And following a short adjournment, Mr Linehan submitted that the trial should not begin without the prosecution having its own psychiatric report prepared on the issue raised by Dr Kennedy.

Judge Griffith-Jones agreed: “It seems to me there is very strong argument for adjourning the case.”

He said the court had identified two possible dates for the trial, which is expected to last up to four weeks – November 14 and January 3.

But Mr Linehan said neither he nor Mr Davis could do the November date – and Rachel Brand QC, for Woods, and Williams’s barrister Michael Duck QC also said they were not available then.

So the judge adjourned the trial until January 3, when all the barristers in the case will be available.

He extended the ‘custody time limits’ – the period during which a defendant can be held on remand before standing trial, until the end of that week – and remanded both Woods and Williams in custody.

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