Woman accused of lying as kidnap trial continues

Frankham copy pic
Frankham copy pic

A woman who was abducted and beaten in connection with a West Norfolk grandmother’s death has been accused of lying in a bid to implicate innocent people in her ordeal.

During at times heated testimony at Norwich Crown Court on Friday, she also rejected claims that she had been involved in removing items from Gertrude Frankham’s former home in Walpole St Andrew.

The court had heard the woman claim one of seven people currently on trial for their alleged part in the incident, Thomas Chilton, made a call on her mobile phone after it was taken from her during the incident in April last year.

But his barrister, Mark Tomassi, alleged that the woman’s account was “a complete fabrication.”

The jury heard extracts of a conversation between an unnamed friend of the woman and police, in which the friend said she was told on the phone that the woman had “confessed everything.”

Mr Tomassi said that showed the call could not have been made when the victim, who was speaking via a video link, claimed it was and that there was no evidence to support her version of events.

But she insisted that a call was made, which may not have connected. When it was suggested that she was wrong, she replied: “I don’t believe I am.”

The court was later told that a video showing the woman falsely confessing that her partner had killed Mrs Frankham showed Thomas Chilton had stood next to her throughout the incident and twice prevented further assaults on her. She said she did not recall that.

But Mr Tomassi suggested she was confused about the identities of the individuals who had been involved in kidnapping and assaulting her.

He said: “What I’m putting to you is you’re blaming somebody who actually tried to help you.”

But, in response to him asking whether it was time to admit that her evidence was wrong, the woman replied: “No sir. I’m telling you what I remember.”

The jury also heard further evidence relating to the removal of items from Mrs Frankham’s home in the months after her death in December 2012.

The woman admitted that she had been “amazed” at some of the items being put in a skip outside the house as they appeared to be in good condition.

The court was also told that two keys were kept, though the woman said she could only remember them being “on the side.”

But Mr Tomassi suggested she and her partner had both been actively involved in removing valuable and sentimental items from Mrs Frankham’s home “over a period of months.”

He added: “You and he, I regret to say, are a pair of thieves at best and burglars at worst.”

However, the woman denied the claim, insisting that she herself had been the victim of a break-in and felt she had been set up in an effort to make her admit to a burglary.

Chilton and six further defendants deny all of the charges against them. Five others have already admitted their role in the incident.

The prosecution is expected to finish their case this week. The trial continues.