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Woman was stabbed to death after a night out with her killers, Old Bailey told

Louise Casey and James Whitaker deny murdering Hannah Leonard at the Chalcots estate

01 November, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Hannah Leonard

A MOTHER was stabbed to death in her home after a night out with her alleged killers, the Old Bailey has been told. Hannah Leonard was found with multiple wounds to her face, neck, chest, stomach, back and legs in Bray Tower, on the Chalcots estate, on February 9.

The 55-year-old was last seen alive walking into the tower block in Fellows Road with Lucy Casey and James Whitaker at around 11.45pm on February 5, a jury was told. The three were not considered to be friends, the jury heard, but had been drinking together in the Sir Colin Campbell pub in Kilburn High Road earlier that night. Ms Casey, 43, from Shoot Up Hill, Kilburn, and Whitaker, 28, from Kensal Rise, deny murder.

On Tuesday, prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said: “There are only three eyewitnesses as to what happened in the flat that night, and one of them is dead.” She told the jury it was “not in dispute” that Ms Leonard was stabbed while Ms Casey and Mr Whitaker were in the flat, but it was not clear “what part, if any, each of them played in the attack”. Ms Leonard lived alone but has a daughter.

As the trial opened this week, the court was told how she had withdrawn £100 from a cash machine in the Co-op opposite Bray, before going home and “hiding” her bank card in a suitcase. CCTV captured her sitting outside the pub on the Kilburn High Road with Ms Casey and Mr Whitaker at around 10pm. Another man, Wayne Dillon, joined the group and a “row erupted” between him and Ms Casey, the court heard.

Police were called by pub staff but there were no arrests and Ms Casey, Mr Whitaker and Ms Leonard walked off down Kilburn High Road, stopping at a chicken shop, before getting a minicab back to Bray. The minicab company described the group as “drunk”, Ms Whitehouse told the jury.

Ms Casey and Mr Whitaker were filmed on CCTV coming out of Bray Tower at 2.50am. Ms Casey was wearing the coat that Ms Leonard had been wearing that night in Kilburn, and she was also carrying her “distinctive red handbag”, the court was told. In her flat, on the worktop surface, a kitchen knife was found with Ms Leonard’s blood on the blade and Ms Casey’s blood on the handle and the tip of the blade, the court was told.

Ms Whitehouse added that there was also a pair of blood-stained scissors with Ms Casey’s blood on the handle and her jacket – a dark “Superdry” coat – was found hanging on the wall with her ID in the pocket. Ms Whitehouse told the court that a post-mortem examination had found some marks on Ms Leonard’s face, arm and hand which were “patterned”, suggesting they had been caused by “a sole of a shoe”.

The court was yet to hear evidence from Ms Casey’s defence team on Tuesday, but the prosecution told the jury that Ms Leonard had been diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease. Before her death she told an “adviser” that the condition often caused her to go binge drinking “every two weeks” and that she “found it difficult to control her mood”, the court heard.

The case continues.

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