Farmer 'drove tractor over wife's head'

By Lucy Collins
Wednesday 05 November 2008 15:57

A farmer who drove his tractor over his postmistress wife's head told medics he had killed her, a court heard today.

Robert Wilson, 40, denies murdering his wife Jane at their Cumbrian farm on 1 December last year.

His 53-year-old wife's gruesome remains were found in the barn where she died, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Her head had been crushed into the top of her shoulders and her brains were found on the filthy floor, paramedic Bernard Plaskett told the jury.

The "grey matter" Mr Plaskett described finding on the floor was scooped up into a plastic bag and taken away with the body by undertakers.

Iain Nellis, an emergency care practitioner, was called to the scene shortly after Wilson made an eight-and-a-half minute long phone call to the ambulance service at 6.15pm.

He told the court: "He said he killed her and he repeated that over and over. It was very difficult to get him to say anything else initially.

"He was stood near the entrance to the barn and was repeating that over and over. He was tearful."

Wilson's tractor still had its engine running and its lights on when paramedics and police turned up to The Croft, the Kirkandrews-on-Eden farm where the couple lived.

Mr Nellis said Wilson told him he believed the cattle got spooked and knocked his wife into the path of the tractor and he had "felt a bump" as he drove the tractor forward with hay on it.

Pc Michael Sampson of Cumbria Police told prosecutor Brian Cummings QC that Wilson was very upset and wanted his wife's wedding ring retrieved.

He said: "It was obvious that he was distressed and wanting to go to where his wife was and myself and another officer had to physically prevent him from doing so."

Pc Sampson added that Wilson took a delivery of wine when he was giving his police statement six days after the death and added: "He said he was very particular about the brand or type."

He said a month after the death he returned to the farm and Wilson was talking about his future, and how he might go and live in France and renovate a farmhouse.

Pc Sampson added: "He went on to say he didn't see himself as a monk. If he met a new lady in the future he didn't see a problem with forming a new relationship."

The court heard that the couple met when Jane Wilson was managing a Carlisle nightclub called The Pagoda. Mrs Wilson had been married before and had two children. She worked as a postmistress but liked to compete in dressage competitions on her horses.

The jury of six men and six women were told yesterday, on the opening day of the murder trial, that Wilson was leading a double life because he was in debt and had taken a lover.