In The Courts: Murder charge man claims lover fell in her bath

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A jury is told by a murder suspect that he found his lover dead in the bath and that a prostitute he is accused of trying to kill was attacked by another client.

A man accused of murdering his former lover told a court yesterday that he found her dead in the bath. Victor Farrant, 48, said that he and accountant Glenda Hoskins had made love and then had a bath together. There was an argument and, as he left the bathroom, he heard a bang and some water splashing.

Mr Farrant said after he had dressed he went back into the bathroom and found the body of Mrs Hoskins in the bath. He tried to resuscitate her and then put her body in the attic so her children would not find her when they returned home from school, intending to ring someone and tell them what he had done.

The jury at Winchester Crown Court was told that Mrs Hoskins' 15-year- old daughter, Katie, found the naked body of her mother wrapped in a carpet in the attic of their home in Portsmouth.

Mr Farrant denies the murder of Mrs Hoskins, 45, on 7 February 1996. He also denies the attempted murder of a prostitute Ann Fidler, who was found slumped in the kitchen of her home at Eastleigh, Hampshire, the previous December. He told the court he had gone to Mrs Fidler's home for sex and had found her lying on the floor of the kitchen.

The jury was told that after the death of Mrs Hoskins, Mr Farrant went to Ramsgate, Kent, and caught a ferry to Belgium, where he stayed with a woman friend. He was later arrested and brought back to Britain.

He was asked about his relationship with Mrs Hoskins, who was separated from her husband and who Mr Farrant met in August 1993, which he said had been "very active" sexually. He said Mrs Hoskins wrote to him regularly in 1993 and 1994 and his counsel, Richard Camden Pratt QC, read out extracts from passionate letters from her to him.

He told the court they used to play out small fantasies. There was a break in their relationship for about a year and it resumed in November 1995.

Dealing with the attempted murder, Mr Farrant said he had earlier paid a visit to Mrs Fidler after seeing her advertise. He said that on 27 December 1995, he had been out looking for a job when he found himself in Eastleigh and decided to call on her for sex. When he knocked there was no reply and he thought she had a customer.

He said he saw someone leave the house and he knocked on the door. He called out but got no reply. He went into the kitchen where he found Mrs Fidler lying on the floor and there was blood and broken glass. He knelt beside her, brushing away the glass with his hand, which he cut. He went to the lounge to look for a telephone and through the window saw the man returning. He panicked and left.

Questioned by Jeremy Gibbons QC, for the prosecution, he said his palm print had got on a broken bottle at Mrs Fidler's home when he had picked it up to clear items he might have touched. He denied smashing it over her head or attacking her with an iron.

The trial resumes on Monday.

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