Mother in courtroom outburst: Murder case witness 'heard screams near workshop after woman abducted'

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The Independent Online
THE MOTHER of Julie Dart broke down and cried in court yesterday when she gave evidence against Michael Sams, the man accused of her daughter's murder.

After taking the oath, Lynne Dart had appeared to mouth an obscenity at Sams in the dock at Nottingham Crown Court. As she left the courtroom in tears, she turned, pointed at Sams just a couple of yards away and shouted: 'He's mine, him]'

Mrs Dart, from Leeds, was giving evidence on the fourth day of the trial of Sams, 51, a toolmaker of Sutton on Trent, Nottinghamshire. He admits the kidnap and imprisonment of Stephanie Slater, an estate agency negotiator from Birmingham, in January last year and also demanding pounds 175,000 from Shipways, her employers. But he denies murdering Miss Dart, 18, a prostitute from Leeds, whose body was dumped in a field in Grantham, Lincolnshire, a week after her disappearance; making two blackmail demands of pounds 140,000 from Leeds city police and a further pounds 200,000 attempt to blackmail British Rail.

The prosecution has claimed that bloodstains found on a curtain at Sams' workshop at Newark in Nottinghamshire matched Miss Dart's blood group and that fibres on the sheet in which her body was found were identical to those of the curtain and carpet tufts at the workshop. Sams claimed she was the victim of a friend who had used his plans for a kidnap and ransom attempt.

Mrs Dart told the jury that her daughter, an asthma sufferer, disliked enclosed spaces such as lifts or even short car journeys, where she would ask for the window to be open. The Crown has claimed that Miss Dart was murdered because her claustrophobia had made her fight against her captivity and at some point she saw Sams without a disguise.

Several witnesses told the court yesterday how they had heard a woman scream in the area of Newark surrounding Sams' workshop during the weekend after Miss Dart's abduction in July 1991.

Diana Maund, who lived on a boat on the river Trent, said that it was a hot night and the portholes were open: 'It started with a car door slamming and a girl screaming. She shouted, 'Leave me alone'. A man was shouting as well.' She said that the man's voice had a calm and fatherly tone, and was apparently reassuring the woman, telling her to calm down and get into the car.

The trial continues today.