WARSOP MURDER TRIAL: Husband murder plot described as ‘absurd’

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A woman’s plot to have her husband killed so she could inherit his money has been described as ‘absurd’ by her defence barrister in court this week.

Charlotte Collinge (48) of Sandy Lane, Warsop, is accused of having her husband Clifford Collinge murdered at their home in October, 2011.

Standing trial for murder, the prosecution during the trial at Nottingham Crown Court claims Mrs Collinge persuaded two men she met hours before in the pub to go back to the family home for sex, and to kill 61-year-old Mr Collinge.

Leaving the two men at her house as she went to buy drugs, she returned to find Mr Collinge in a pool of blood, having been beaten to death with a guitar and joiner’s sash clamp.

But defending Mrs Collinge, Michael Auty QC, said the allegation that she had planned the attack was ‘fatally flawed’.

In previous weeks, the jury had heard testimony from Mrs Collinge’s friend, Janet Dawkins, who told the court Charlotte had said to her she wanted Clifford dead earlier that fateful day.

But Mr Auty said of Mrs Collinge: “Even if she were to contemplate it, the first thing you would do would be to place yourself a very long way from the matrimonial home.

“If this was a planned murder would she not have been half way to Brazil?!”

Mr Auty also made reference to the weapons used to murder Mr Collinge, joking that they were hardly an ‘assassin’s weapons of choice’, thus dismissing the claims that it was planned and should clear Mrs Collinge of any wrongdoing.

PCSO Georgina Fletcher, who arrived at the house minutes after the alarm had been raised, recently told the court that Charlotte Collinge had said to her ‘oh my God, I think I’ve just killed him’.

But Mr Auty says it could have been misheard and she may have said ‘I think they have killed him’.

Mr Auty asked the jury: “Could you differentiate?

“Phonetically, they are virtually identical.”

He added that even if she hadn’t said the latter,he suggests she could have meant that she felt guilty for leaving the two men at the house with her husband.

Mr Auty added: “It’s a piece of non-evidence, and does not suggest that she killed him whatsoever.

Her behaviour was also described as being odd when the police turned up, but Mr Auty simply puts that down to shock.

Mr Auty concluded by saying: “If there is no plan, then she is not guilty.

“There has to be plan for her to be guilty, and there is, quite simply, no case.

“Only when you look at it do you begin to understand and appreciate how absurd it is that it was premeditated.”

Charlotte Collinge faces murder, along with Warsop pair Stephen Shreeves (43), of Laurel Avenue and Kelvin Dale (30), of Forest Road.

Shreeves and Dale admit they had gone back to Collinge’s home and ended up in a fight with Mr Collinge, and his friend Stephen Boardman, when Mrs Collinge had gone back out to buy cocaine on the evening of 8th October, 2011.

But both deny murdering him, and causing GBH to Mr Boardman, who claims he was knocked unconscious.

Mr Collinge died from a subarachnoid haemorrhage - bleeding on the brain caused by severe trauma.

He had 46 separate injuries, including every rib fractured in multiple places.

The trial continues.