Woman accused of murder of former Norwich bus conductor claims she was “scared” after witnessing attack by partner

PUBLISHED: 14:21 23 January 2013 | UPDATED: 15:13 23 January 2013

Kelly and Jodie Barnes.

Kelly and Jodie Barnes.

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A woman accused of murdering a former bus conductor in his own home said she felt “scared” and “very frightened” as her partner went “nuts” and attacked the victim after he tried to pull down her trousers, a court has heard.

The body of 67-year-old Barry Reeve was discovered by officers at a property on Corton Road, off City Road, Norwich on February 26 last year two weeks after it is said he was attacked.

Kelly Louise Barnes, 32, and Jodie Barnes, formerly Ramsbottom, 31, who are civil partners and from Bixley Close, both deny murdering Mr Reeve and are on trial at Norwich Crown Court.

Giving evidence yesterday Jodie, who asked to be referred to as Ramsbottom, said she and Kelly had both taken drugs on February 9 last year before visiting Mr Reeve to try and get some money.

Mukhtar Hussain QC, defence counsel for Jodie, who was dressed in a grey sweater, wore a crucifix and clutched a bible, asked his client what happened.

Jodie, who broke down several times, said Mr Reeve was offered her “services” by Kelly but that he wanted Kelly instead. She said they then got in a “ruck” with Mr Reeve trying to pull Kelly’s trousers down before she “kicks off”. She said: “She was hitting out, kicking, she was swearing. She was going nuts.”

Jodie, who said she was “scared and very frightened” said she did not intervene as she did not want to go near Kelly when she “kicked off”.

She then described how, with Mr Reeve laying on the floor, she stood astride him and took his wallet from his pocket while Kelly went “rummaging” around his living room and kitchen stealing things.

The court heard items were put in bags belonging to Mr Reeve and placed near to a wall outside the bungalow and were picked up later.

Mr Hussain asked Jodie if she realised Mr Reeve had been “very badly injured”. She said she knew he had been injured but “did not realise he was going to die”.

In cross examination, Graham Parkins QC, defending Kelly, said Jodie’s account was “simply not right” and insisted his client was in the living room while Jodie asked Mr Reeve about money in the hall and was refused.

He said: “Did you lash out at him?” Jodie replied “No, I didn’t.”

Mr Parkins added: “Did you at any time when in the house on that occasion assault Mr Reeve in any way shape or form.” She replied: “No I didn’t no.”

Jodie also denied Mr Parkins’ suggestion that, after they left Mr Reeve’s bungalow and failed to get money from the ATM at Sainsbury’s, she returned with “Mr Reeve conscious enough” to “get some information from him” about the card which was later used again, unsuccessfully, at the cash point.

During cross examination Jodie broke down on several occasions and during one outburst of emotion said: “I didn’t kill anyone and I’m certainly not a murderer and I didn’t attack him.”

The jury also heard Jodie had a “volatile” 10-year-relationship with her ex partner and admitted stabbing her, in the shoulder and side, on one occasion.

The trial continues.

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