In The Courts: Girl found body of murdered mother hidden inside carpet

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The Independent Online
A Crown Court jury was told yesterday of the "ear-splitting scream" let out by a girl after finding her murdered mother rolled up inside a carpet in the loft of her luxury home.

Katie Hoskins, then 15, found the body of Glenda Hoskins after a police search had failed to locate her. Winchester Crown Court was told that she had been asphyxiated in her bath by a former lover, Victor Farrant, whom the prosecution alleges had carried out an attack on a prostitute, Ann Fidler, just two weeks earlier.

Mrs Fidler was so badly beaten that her husband "recognised her as a human being but not as his wife" after she was hit about the head and after having her face smashed through the toughened glass of an oven door. She is permanently brain-damaged and can remember nothing of the incident.

Mr Farrant, 48, a former builder, denies murdering Mrs Hoskins, a 45- year-old accountant from Port Solent, Portsmouth, in February 1996, and attempting to murder Mrs Fidler, 45, the former manageress of an escort agency in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

Jeremy Gibbons QC, for the prosecution, said DNA tests on blood and semen linked Mr Farrant to the scene of both attacks. He also read details of imprints taken from sheets of paper found in Mr Farrant's flat in Portsmouth

One, which Mr Gibbons said was intended for Mrs Hoskins to read before her death, read: "Take these instructions to be very serious. Fuck me about or refuse to do anything I ask and you will be tied up and gagged. I will not repeat myself.

"You will not get a second chance. If I have to use violence to get what I want, I will. It will make no difference to me, I am going to get what I want either way. The choice is yours.

"Be good and willing to me and you will come to no harm. I will be gentle, but remember you must show willing and be responsive."

Mr Gibbons alleged that the letters were written as Mrs Hoskins was attempting to break off a three-year relationship with Mr Farrant.

He said an examination of Mrs Hoskins' body suggested she had been pulled sharply by the ankles while in the bath.Then something was held over her mouth while she was suffocated underwater.

Her naked body, hair still "wet and bedraggled" was found by Katie when she and Tony Hoskins, the victim's estranged husband, called police when she failed to return home from a business meeting.

"Police had already been up there but then Katie went up and there was an ear-splitting scream," said Mr Gibbons.

Earlier, the jury was told how Mrs Fidler, a prostitute who worked from home, was found barely alive by her husband, Brett, allegedly after a visit by Mr Farrant. Mr Fidler, who knew of his wife's business, returned home on 27 December 1995 to find it in darkness. He went into the kitchen and turned on the light.

"He saw a human being slumped in a pool of blood against the tumble dryer, but ...he could not tell who it was," said Mr Gibbons. Glass and blood, he said, were splattered around the kitchen. Mrs Fidler had massive head injuries and had to have part of her brain removed.

The court was told that an iron was used to beat her head so hard that it broke clear of its handle. The necks of three bottles used in the attack were found in a waste bin. All bore Mr Farrant's finger or palm prints. DNA samples from blood at the scene matched Mr Farrant's. He was arrested in France in July 1996 and returned to England in January last year.

The case continues.

- Steve Boggan

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