In The Courts: Mutilated prostitute accused husband of attack

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The Independent Online
A jury was told yesterday how a man who discovered his mutilated wife barely alive was later accused of carrying out the attack. Steve Boggan heard the latest twist in the trial of Victor Farrant, who is charged with attacking her and murdering another woman.

A former civil servant-turned prostitute woke from a coma after being savagely beaten and accused her husband of trying to kill her, a court was told yesterday.

Ann Fidler, who used to work in the office of the former Tory minister William Waldegrave, had been unconscious for 15 days after a savage attack allegedly carried out by Victor Farrant. But Winchester Crown Court was told yesterday that when her husband, Brett Fidler, called her at a rehabilitation clinic, she said: "You tried to kill me, didn't you?"

Mr Farrant, 48, a former builder, denies attempting to murder Mrs Fidler, 45, who was working as a prostitute from her home in Eastleigh, Hampshire, in December 1995. He also denies murdering his former girlfriend Glenda Hoskins at her home in Portsmouth two weeks later.

Mr Fidler, 31, a former gym owner, was cleared of suspicion for the attack on his wife after DNA tests linked blood found at the scene to Mr Farrant. But yesterday, Richard Camden Pratt QC, for the defence, revealed details of the phone call to the Victoria House Rehabilitation Centre. "Do you remember her asking you `You tried to kill me didn't you'? And you replied `Yes, I did'," he said. "Did you not say, `Yes, I did, look at the trouble you caused me ...' "

Mr Fidler said he did not recall such a reply but if he made it then "It would have been through shock" at being accused. "I definitely would not have said `yes'. That is stupid," he said.

The court was told that Mrs Fidler had been beaten about the head with three glass bottles and an iron and had had her face pushed through the toughened glass door of her cooker. She has recovered despite having part of her brain removed, but she has no recollection of the attack. The couple divorced in 1996.

Asked about his feelings towards her work as a prostitute, Mr Fidler replied: "We discussed it on a small basis but not on a large basis. It was her business and I had to accept that." Asked what services she performed apart from sex, he replied: "Bits and bobs. She whipped people and things like that."

Recalling the moment when he found his wife in the blood-spattered kitchen, Mr Fidler said: "There was no physical sign of anything apart from red. She had a wide gash - like a second mouth - in her neck. I could not see any head injuries at all because her hair was just too matted with blood. I felt shock and disbelief. I could not comprehend how I felt. Actually finding that it was her, I felt sick, very sick. It was horrible.

"You come to terms with it, but I will never get over it. I still wake up sweating every night, seeing her."

The trial continues.

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