Woman ‘who drowned homeless woman in bath’ refuses to speak in court

Kathleen Salmond charged with murder alongside boyfriend Kevin Flanagan 

Samuel Lovett
Friday 29 November 2019 20:10
Kathleen Salmond leaves Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month
Kathleen Salmond leaves Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month

A woman accused of drowning a homeless woman in a bath and “callously” dumping her body in a bin has refused to give evidence in court.

Kathleen Salmond has been charged with murder alongside her boyfriend Kevin Flanagan after the couple were reported to police by the latter’s brother, who claims Mr Flanagan told him the pair had killed 39-year-old Lisa Bennett in May 2013.

Birmingham Crown Court heard claims Ms Salmond and Mr Flanagan wrapped up the body of Ms Bennett, originally from Burton-on-Trent, and placed it in a wheelie bin before it was “incinerated” at a community waste facility.

The couple are also accused of “reaping the benefit of Lisa’s disappearance” after 40-year-old Ms Salmond allegedly phoned the Department for Work and Pensions and pretended to be the victim while asking for her benefit money to be paid into her own account.

The 39-year-old Mr Flanagan initially gave evidence in court, insisting that he had told his brother Ms Bennett “died from an overdose” – not that he and Ms Salmond had killed her.

But after being invited to return to the witness box following a break in proceedings on Thursday, Mr Flanagan said in front of the jury panel: “I’m not giving any more evidence.”

Appearing via videolink due to being “largely confined to a bed or wheelchair”, Ms Salmond also declined to give evidence during Friday’s session, after Flanagan repeated his wish not to continue.

Before Mr Flanagan declined to give evidence on Thursday, he was crossed-examined by Ms Salmond’s barrister John Butterfield QC, who asked: “Did you say that she was deliberately killed?” The defendant replied: “No I didn’t.”

Mr Butterfield continued: “Did you say that Lisa’s body was put in a bin?”

Flanagan responded: “Yes I did – I said me and Kathleen put her in the bin.”

Kevin Flanagan denies killing Lisa Bennett

After being asked if he had told his brother that he had drowned Ms Bennett in the bath, Mr Flanagan said: “I told him that she died from an overdose.”

Ms Salmond and Mr Flanagan, both of Birmingham, deny murder.

The female defendant also denies benefit fraud and preventing Ms Bennett’s burial – charges which a jury was told Mr Flanagan had previously admitted.

The trial continues.

Additional reporting by PA.

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