Mum accused of soliciting ex husband’s murder declines to give evidence
- Credit: Archant
A Littleport mother on trial for allegedly attempting to persuade four different men to kill her ex husband has declined to give evidence in her own defence.
Victoria Breeden, 39, of Black Horse Drove, denies four counts of soliciting to murder Rob Parkes over more than five years.
The announcement came on day three of her trial at Chelmsford Crown Court before High Court judge Mr Justice Martin Chamberlain at the close of the prosecution case against her.
Defence barrister Matthew Jewell QC said: 'Miss Breeden will not be giving evidence and no further evidence will be called upon her behalf.'
Prosecutor Christopher Paxton QC has told the jury of eight women and four men that Breeden had a determination to carry out the attacks, borne out of a desire to get revenge on Mr Parkes after he won custody of their daughter following the breakdown of their marriage.
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He said: 'These were not empty words she spoke in a pique of temper, she had the financial means to fund her plan.
'Each of the solicitations to murder had or concerned one target and that was her ex husband,' he claimed.
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Breeden pleads not guilty to endeavouring to persuade Hamish Lowry-Martin to murder Rob Parkes between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2014.
She is accused of trying to persuade Daniel Proctor to kill her ex between 1 November 2015 and 1 June 2016.
She is said to have endeavoured to persuade Graham Wall to kill Mr Parkes between 19 October 2018 and 3 October 2019
The fourth count is trying to persuade Earl Gernon to murder Rob Parkes on 1 October 2019.
Mr Wall captured the alleged instructions in a mobile phone recording he made because he was suspicious that Breeden was cheating on him with Mr Gernon.
The investigation began after Mr Wall walked into a Yorkshire police station on 9 August last year to show police the conversation he had recorded on his mobile phone between Breeden and Earl Gernon and was advised to contact Cambridgeshire police.
Although the jury will not be hearing directly from the defendant from the witness box, Breeden's four interviews with police after her arrest on 9 October last year were read to the jury by the prosecution.
She stated she and Rob Parkes lived in Two Mile Ash, Milton Keynes, when they were married in 2004. Their marriage broke down about 2009.
She and Mr Wall, who lived in Peterborough, had been partners until very recently, she told officers.
While they were on a break, a friend set her up on a dating website and Mr Gernon recognised her from school 20 years ago. They met up in early October 2019.
She claimed her request in the recording for him to do something for her 'was not serious'.
'He said 'Have you ever wanted to not just turn back the clock and not do something?' And I said 'Just make someone disappear'.'
Breeden told police she asked Mr Gernon if it was easy to have someone disappear and how it would happen 'but that was not her asking someone to do it'.
'It was a joke. Not serious. I didn't want anything to happen,' said her statement.
Breedon told officers it was 'a joke, an off-the-cuff comment', when she referred to him knowing 'a lot of dodgy people' and about how much it would cost.
Breeden said she did not even know where Mr Parkes now lived.
She said she referred to Mr Parkes' wife as an accomplice because it might be a way of finding her on Facebook so she could have contact with her daughter.
Breeden told police she had not seen her daughter for seven years but sent birthday and Christmas cards adding: 'I pray for her every day'.
She also denied she had a grudge against Mr Parkes.
During the interviews Breeden said she only had a few hundred pounds in savings. She did not have the £10,000-£15,000 mentioned in the conversation with Mr Gernon, she claimed.
The court heard that police checks revealed she was the holder of children's savers bank accounts totalling about £38,000.
A police search of her house also uncovered £18,690 in cash in a baby's milk tin in a cupboard under the stairs.
In one interview, Breeden said of the recorded conversation: 'It was just a drunken silly conversation and none of it was meant to mean anything and I never asked for anything to happen.'
In between her interviews in October and the end of November, police identified Mr Proctor and Mr Lowry-Martin and took witness statements from them.
When the defendant was later questioned about them, she told police she did not remember a Hamish Lowry-Martin who also lived at Priory Marina in Bedford when she lived there on a boat with her then husband Wayne Wood.
Mr Lowry-Martin claimed that Breeden asked him: 'You wouldn't do me a favour would you?' And then said: 'Sort out my ex husband.' The defendant stated she did not remember that conversation at all.
'I have not had that conversation with anyone. I don't know who it is,' she said.
Mr Lowry-Martin recounted how he had told her he had left Scotland when he was younger.
He alleged Breeden asked him: 'Do you know people back in Scotland who are still nutters?'
The defendant told police: 'It's not like anything I would say. I've not had that conversation with anyone. Of course I don't want [my daughter's] dad dead.'
When Mr Lowry-Martin asked why, he alleges that Breeden told him: 'My ex husband has stopped me seeing the kids. He made up stories about me. He has told social services I have done things and it's all made up lies and it's stopped me seeing the kids.'
The officer asked Breeden in the interview: 'How does this man know that you have problems with your ex involving your children? It's because you had this conversation.'
Breeden replied: 'I don't know him. I have not had that conversation with anyone.'
Mr Lowry-Martin alleged that Breeden offered him over £5,000 'if you get someone to sort him out'. The defendant told police she did not have £5,000.
Relating to Bedford animal rescue centre worker Mr Proctor, the defendant said he was friends with Wayne and helped them find a dog.
Asked to respond to his allegation that she told him: I want somebody killed', Breeden told officers: 'I never had that conversation. I have never asked anyone that.'
An officer asked: 'So, four men you have asked to assist you in harming Rob Parkes. Why have you selected each of these men, what skills do they have?'
Breeden replied: 'I have not asked anyone to hurt him.'
Mr Wall alleges Breeden said to him: 'You must know someone who can help get rid of him.'
Mr Wall claims he told her: 'I don't know anyone like that.' And that she replied to him: 'If you cannot do that you are no use to me.'
Breeden said in her interview with police 'I have never said that.'
The jury heard that Mr Parkes won temporary custody in August 2013 in Milton Keynes Family Court and the order was made final in February 2015.
It is expected that prosecution and defence will give their closing speeches to the jury at the beginning of this week and the judge will deliver his summing up on Tuesday before the jury is sent out to consider its verdicts.
The trial continues.