Woman who tried to find hitmen to murder her ex-husband jailed for nine-and-half years
- Credit: Archant
A woman was jailed for nine and a half years after being convicted of trying to persuade hitmen to murder her ex-husband after he won a custody battle for their child.
The prosecution had alleged that Victoria Breeden, 39, of Black Horse Drove, Littleport, was out for revenge against the man who had “robbed her of her best friend, robbed her of her daughter and robbed her of her family”.
“She may have failed but she tried hard to make it happen,” prosecutor Christopher Paxton said at her trial earlier this year.
At Chelmsford Crown Court today (July 31) Breeden was sentenced after previously being found guilty of three counts of soliciting to murder Rob Parkes.
The case began last year when Breeden’s most current former partner, Graham Wall, approached police in Yorkshire with a 24-minute recording. He was told to contact Cambridgeshire police. Mr Wall feared Breeden was having an affair and hid his phone in a cupboard under the stairs of her home to see what she was up to.
When he retrieved it the next day (October 3) he listened to the recording of Breeden and another man, Earl Gernon, talking about how easy it would be to ‘make someone disappear’.
The recording heard talk of the different ways her ex-husband, Rob Parkes, could be murdered or seriously injured, and that it would cost between £10 and £15,000 for a ‘see you later’.
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Breeden was initially charged with conspiracy to murder but further investigation revealed it wasn’t the first time she had made these enquiries and requests for help.
During a trial in March, Breeden was found guilty of persuading Hamish Lowry-Martin to murder Mr Parkes between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.
She was also found guilty of persuading Graham Wall to kill him between October 19,2018 and October 3, 2019 and persuading Earl Gernon to murder him on October 2, 2019.
Breeden was found not guilty of persuading Daniel Proctor to kill him in November 2016..
She gave no evidence in court.
Detective Inspector Mike Barnshaw said: “This was a five-month long investigation into Breeden’s repeated solicitations of men to kill her ex-husband over a number of years.
“Breeden’s behaviour was calculating, targeted, persistent and dangerous. It was motivated by her hatred of Mr Parkes and a jury have convicted her on three counts.
“The sentence reflects the gravity of the evidence that highlights Breeden’s persistent behaviour and repeated attempts to have Mr Parkes killed.
“This conviction will hopefully give some peace of mine to the victim and takes a dangerous individual off the streets of Cambridgeshire.”
He added: “I hope this shows that Cambridgeshire Police, irrespective of who is involved, take all matters of domestic abuse seriously and I would encourage anyone suffering to contact us and be assured that we will help.”
In his closing speech to the jury in March, Mr Paxton QC, reminded them that Breeden was captured on tape saying: “He cheated on me with my best friend and then married her.”
He said: “Mr Parkes has become a figure she hates and despises. She tried time and time again to have him killed. “Mr Parkes has not just torn her family apart but remains the barrier from having access to her daughter.
Mr Paxton had told the jury threat posed by Breeden was real and serious.
He said: “These were not empty words she spoke in a pique of temper; she had the financial means to fund her plan.”
Breeden declined to give evidence in her own defence.
In his closing speech her barrister Matthew Jewell QC told the jury: ‘You have to be sure she was trying to persuade each of these men to assist in the killing of Rob Parkes.
“Not making inquiries about it, not joking about it, not simply have a state of mind - if you think that she wanted that to happen - but actually trying to persuade these men to become involved.” Mr Jewell concluded his final submissions by saying: ‘You are not concerned with whether Victoria Breeden hated Rob Parkes, whether she wanted him killed. You are concerned about whether she tried to persuade anyone to assist her in that.