'Gay rape pictures used by dealer to blackmail friend into killing his wife'

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The Independent Online

A wealthy book-dealer blackmailed his best friend to kill his wife by threatening to reveal a photograph of him being raped by two men, a court was told yesterday.

A wealthy book-dealer blackmailed his best friend to kill his wife by threatening to reveal a photograph of him being raped by two men, a court was told yesterday.

Colin Harrold is said to have told Darren Lake he would show the picture to his girlfriend and family and he would lose access to his young son.

Lake, who has admitted murder, told Nottingham Crown Court he wept when he killed Diane Harrold after being forced into it by his friend.

Giving evidence for the prosecution, he said that hours before, he begged Mr Harrold not to go through with it but was told to stop "whinging".

He went to Mr Harrold's home in Uffington, Lincolnshire, on the pretence of helping his 36-year-old wife look for her cat Cleo - which was also the codename for the murder - had coffee with her then hit her over the head with a wooden post and drowned her in their swimming pool.

Lake went on: "She went to the floor. I tried to carry her to the pool. She was twitching. I tried to stop her by putting my fingers on her throat.

"I picked her up and I put her in the pool. I had to kick the pool cover to one side. She went in on her side."

He said he tried to clean blood from the kitchen and scattered clothes around to make it appear there had been a burglary.

Before his arrest, Lake said he stood in the hallway of his flat in Stag Shaw Drive, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and wept, because of "everything, my whole life, what I had done".

He said Mr Harrold had asked him to kill Diane six weeks before. He was £20,000 in debt and Mr Harrold offered to give him the money to commit the murder so he would be left free to have a "playboy lifestyle".

Lake said he was shocked by the request but when he hesitated Mr Harrold produced the photograph of him being raped on holiday in Tenerife, which he had not known existed, and his "world caved in".

The picture was apparently taken by one of his attackers with his own camera and was discovered by Mr Harrold when he agreed to have films from the trip developed.

Lake said he was scared of the consequences of refusing Mr Harrold, telling the court: "I was frightened of him - I was just doing whatever he wanted."

The court heard that on the night of the murder last October, Mr Harrold had a "perfect alibi".

He was with a friend in Amsterdam, enjoying the city's red light district and trying to set up a deal to sell pornographic magazines.

Mr Harrold denies murder and conspiring with Lake to murder his wife.

The case continues.

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