Woman `invented road-rage killer'

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The Independent Online
A woman stabbed her fiance to death after a ferocious argument and then invented a "mystery murdering motorist" who had killed him in a road rage attack, a court was told yesterday.

David Crigman QC, for the prosecution, told the jury at Birmingham Crown Court, that Tracie Andrews and Lee Harvey rowed while driving home from a pub before Mr Harvey was stabbed with a penknife more than 30 times in the head, neck, chest and back.

"After the attack she was to claim that the death was caused by the occupant of another car in the course of a driving dispute," Mr Crigman said. "There never was some mystery murdering motorist. It was her."

The court heard that Ms Andrews, 28, who denies murder, and Mr Harvey, 25, had a "volatile and turbulent" relationship. Three months before the killing on 1 December, 1996, police had been called to Mr Harvey's flat after an argument.

On the day of Mr Harvey's death it appeared they had had a long argument at Ms Andrews' home. Later they had rowed again in the car on the way back from a pub in Bromsgrove to her flat in Alvechurch, Worcestershire, but Mr Harvey's white RS2000 Escort turbo stopped and both had got out. Ms Andrews had then lauched a "vicious" attack on him.

On their way from the pub along country lanes, the couple were spotted by two witnesses whose evidence meant the defendant's assertion of a second car pursuing the white Escort was "a lie", Mr Crigman said.

Later Ms Andrews tucked the knife she had used to murder Mr Harvey into her high-heeled boots, disposing of it in a waste bin while being treated at Princess Alexandra hospital in Redditch, on the night of the killing, Mr Crigman said.

The bins were regularly emptied and Mr Crigman said that as it took police several days to collate evidence pointing to Ms Andrews as the killer, the knife had long gone.

The court was told that Richard Main, who was visiting a friend, Susan Duncan, at a house near the murder scene, heard a voice in distress and Mr Main asked Mrs Duncan, to call an ambulance while he ran back to the road. The defendant had "mentioned no other car, no other motorist".

Mr Crigman alleged that it was not until Mrs Duncan came out of the house that Ms Andrews began to construct her complex story of her fiance dying in a road rage attack.

Ms Andrews had described the other vehicle as a black Sierra-type car and said that it was the passenger who had attacked her fiance after they had exchanged rude gestures.

At one point, the front seat passenger of the other vehicle got out of the car and went towards Mr Harvey. He had "big staring eyes", she said and remembered her fiance calling him something like "fat man".

Ms Andrews alleged that the man then hit out at Mr Harvey several times. The man had also hit her and when she got up he was walking back to his car. She had said: "Lee was making a funny noise like a gurgling noise. I knelt in something wet. ... I started to cry."

Mr Crigman told the court that a "hank" of human hair matching Ms Andrews' own hair had been found at the murder scene along with a few strands clasped in the dead man's hands.

Also, blood splashes, consistent with having come from an injured person dripping blood on to the floor was found at the back of the Mr Harvey's car, which Mr Crigman said was "totally inconsistent" with Ms Andrews' story that he had been attacked at the front of the vehicle. He said: "In short, Lee Harvey was under attack and assaulted in a wholly different location than where the defendant was claiming some mystery attacker attacked him."

The case continues today.