Trial of Littleport woman Victoria Breeden accused of trying to have her ex-husband murdered draws to a close
- Credit: Archant
The trial of the Littleport woman accused of trying to persuade four men over a period of five years to kill her ex-husband is drawing to a close.
Victoria Breeden, 39, of Black Horse Drove, has pleaded not guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to four offences.
The first is 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
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The fourth count is trying to persuade Earl Gernon to murder Rob Parkes on 1 October 2019.
In his closing speech to the jury, prosecutor Christopher Paxton QC reminded them that Breeden was captured on tape saying: 'He cheated on me with my best friend and then married her.'
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He continued: 'Mr Parkes has become a figure she hates and despises. She tried time and time again to have him killed. Mr Parkes has not just torn her family apart but remains the barrier from having access to her daughter.
'She sought her revenge against the man who had robbed her of her best friend, robbed her of her daughter and robbed her of her family - who she says was torn apart.'
Mr Paxton added: 'She may have failed but she tried hard to make it happen.'
Breeden has declined to give evidence in her own defence.
In his closing speech her barrister Matthew Jewell QC told the jury: 'You have to be sure she was trying to persuade each of these men to assist in the killing of Rob Parkes.
'Not making inquiries about it, not joking about it, not simply have a state of mind - if you think that she wanted that to happen - but actually trying to persuade these men to become involved.'
He asked, what did the words she allegedly use mean on the face of them and what was the context?
In the mobile phone recorded conversation between Breeden and Earl Gernon, Mr Jewell said Breeden appeared to be distancing herself - 'stepping away from' the various suggestions Earl Gernon was making, such as a robbery gone wrong, a car jacking or fitting him up for a drug deal.
'Everything Earl Gernon says is nonsense, just showing off, just talk,' he told the jury.
He said the conversation 'starts with an inquiry and moves through various alternatives explored by Mr Gernon who is making all these suggestions about things and virtually all of them Breeden is saying 'I cannot do that,' 'I cannot do that' and that's where the conversation ends.
'So whatever this conversation is about, this topic is not mentioned again and Mr Gernon leaves and nothing further is said about it at all,' he told the jury adding that Breeden made no further contact with Mr Gernon.
He said that Graham Wall did not tell police until later - after their relationship broke up - about the recording or the alleged conversation in which Breeden told him 'You must know someone who can get rid of Rob.' He said the reason she did not tell police earlier was because he had no fears for Mr Parkes.
Mr Jewell claimed that Breeden's alleged statement to Dan Proctor 'that she wanted somebody killed' - which she denies saying - was not a request and she had not tried to persuade him.
'He certainly didn't think he was being asked to do anything. It may have given him butterflies,' said Mr Jewell.
Mr Jewell concluded his final submissions by saying: 'You are not concerned with whether Victoria Breeden hated Rob Parkes, whether she wanted him killed. You are concerned about whether she tried to persuade anyone to assist her in that.
'If you look carefully at the words and the context you may not like what she was doing, you may be deeply suspicious about what she was doing but your state of mind cannot be sure she was trying to persuade these men to kill Mr Parkes.'
The jury is down to 11 members. A female juror told the judge in a note today that she had a cold and a doctor had told her that if she was at work he would have advised her to stay at home. She stated she had not been to Italy and she believed it was just a cold.
Mr Justice Martin Chamberlain discharged the juror without her coming into court and told the remaining jurors that she had not been tested for coronavirus. As a precautionary measure they would use a different retiring room today.
The trial continues.