Bag-snatcher accused of killing victim was high on crack cocaine

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A woman accused with her boyfriend of murdering a BBC costume designer during a bungled handbag snatch at Euston station admitted yesterday that her recollection of the incident was hazy because she had been taking crack cocaine.

Jackie Moorhouse told a jury at the Old Bailey that she thought Elizabeth Sherlock had red hair but could not be sure because of the drugs she had been taking.

The court was told that Ms Moorhouse, 24, and her boyfriend, Mark Woolley, aged 36, had a £120-a-day heroin habit when their car ran over Mrs Sherlock after she chased them on Easter Monday this year.

Giving evidence at their trial, Ms Moorhouse, 24, said that before the theft she had been approaching people at the station, asking for money, but was not given any. She admitted taking Mrs Sherlock's bag from the café where Mrs Sherlock and her husband, Peter, were having coffee while waiting for a train to Lancashire.

As she made off with the bag, Ms Moorhouse told the court, she heard someone shouting: "Stop that thief. She has got my bag." She said: "I just ran and got into the car. She sounded as if she was really angry. I thought, just run. I thought she would get hold of me. I was just frightened I was going to be got hold of. I should have dropped the bag."

Ms Moorhouse, who said she regularly stole handbags, said she panicked when Mrs Sherlock leapt on to the Ford Fiesta. "I was scared. Nothing like that has happened. She started bending up the windscreen wiper on my side. She was shouting. She was facing me through the windscreen."

She said: "She looked like she had red hair – but I think that may be because I had been smoking crack."

Ms Moorhouse recounted that when the car reversed, it had started "wiggling" and hit a kerb. Mrs Sherlock, 42, "went up in the air", she said. She felt two bumps as the car went over Mrs Sherlock. "Mark was panicking and said 'Shut up'."

After fleeing the scene in a cab, she said the couple used Mrs Sherlock's cash card to withdraw £100, which they used to buy heroin.

Mr Woolley and Ms Moorhouse, both from north London, deny murdering Mrs Sherlock. Mr Woolley admits manslaughter, but denies theft of a bag. Ms Moorhouse denies manslaughter. The trial continues.