HILDA OWEN MURDER TRIAL: I did not kill Skegby pensioner, says convicted killer

Skegby murder victim Hilda Owen
Skegby murder victim Hilda Owen

A convicted killer has told a jury he did not murder Skegby pensioner Hilda Owen.

Callum Adams was giving evidence as a witness in the trial of Peter Smith (48), who denies battering his 71-year-old next door neighbour to death.

The widow’s body was found at her home in West Hill over five years ago.

It is alleged Smith wanted to benefit from her will in order to solve his financial problems.

Adams, who has tattoos on the top of his head and back of his neck, was brought into the witness box at Nottingham Crown Court handcuffed to a prison officer. He is currently serving a sentence for the murder of a gay partner in Bradford in 2009.

Adams had come to Mansfield at Christmas time 2006 and lived with Smith for some time before leaving his house on 21st February, 2007, a week before Mrs Owen was killed.

Adams went to London to live with another man he had met.

Smith kept sending him text messages like ‘Goodnight baby, love ya,’ with kisses, said Peter Joyce, QC, prosecuting.

Adams was short of money and Smith credited his account with occasional sums of £20, the court heard.

Adams then got a job as a labourer refitting a jewellers shop in Regent Street, London. Records showed his working hours there at the time Mrs Owen was killed.

But Paul Mann, QC, representing Smith, told Adams: No one was checking on when you were leaving work each day.’

Adams said he was in a pub in London after work on 27th February then at home with the man he was living with.

‘Not up in Mansfield?’ asked Mr Mann. ‘No, sir,’ replied Adams.

Mr Mann said a bloody fingerprint had been found on the inside of Mrs Owen’s door handle. Four experts found a number of characteristics on the print that were shared with some of Adams’s.

‘One explanation is that you killed her,’ said Mr Mann. Adams replied ‘I did not.’

On the following night Adams had become tearful in a pub in London in front of friends.

His explanation had been that he was upset after seeing a boy injured at work. But he had refused to give the police the identity of that person, said Mr Mann.

Mr Mann said Adams knew Smith was proposing to get Mrs Owen to sign a will so that her house would be left to Smith.

‘Did you regard him as the perfect fall-guy for killing her and trying to take her money?’ said Mr Mann. Adams said he did not.

The trial continues.