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Woman stabbed 'to silence her'

A mother-of-five was stabbed to death as she tended her horses in a New Forest field by a man recruited by a former lover's son to "silence" her and stop her accusing him of indecent assault, a court has heard.

Pennie Davis, 47, who worked at a supermarket, was found dead by her husband on September 2 in a field at Leygreen Farm, Beaulieu, Hampshire.

Justin Robertson, 36, of no fixed address , who denies murder and conspiracy to murder, was traced by police after he dropped a set of car keys at the murder scene, Winchester Crown Court was told.

Benjamin Carr, 22, of Edward Road, Southampton, and Samantha Maclean, 28, of Beech Crescent, Hythe, are also charged with conspiracy to murder, which they deny.

Richard Smith QC, prosecuting, said: "Penelope Davis went to tend her horses in a field at a farm near Beaulieu on the edge of the New Forest.

"Whilst there and alone in a small paddock within the horse field, she was attacked and repeatedly stabbed by the defendant, Justin Robertson.

"Penelope's body was found later that same afternoon lying in the field by her husband, Peter Davis, who had left work and come to give her a hand with the horses.

"They had only been married for a matter of months."

Mr Smith continued: "The defendant, Justin Robertson, had agreed to kill Penelope Davis for money. He had agreed to kill her for the defendant Ben Carr. It was he, Ben Carr, who had the plan, Robertson and Carr carried out that plan to kill Penelope Davis with the help of their fellow defendant Samantha Maclean."

Mr Smith said Carr had wanted Mrs Davis "silenced" because he believed she would make an allegation to police that he had indecently assaulted someone, a complaint she had previously made.

He said: "Why would Ben Carr want Penelope Davis killed? The answer to that question, which will remain at the heart of this trial, probably lies in the fact that Ben Carr believed that Mrs Davis was going to go to the police, as she had done before, and allege that he had previously indecently assaulted (someone).

"It was for that reason, principally it seems, that Ben Carr wanted Penelope Davis silenced, so he recruited others to help him."

Mr Smith said Mrs Davis knew Carr because she had been in a relationship with his father Timothy from about 2006 to 2012.

He said Ben Carr had a "lasting hate and anger" towards Mrs Davis after she made a complaint to police about the allegations of sexual assault against him when he was 14.

Mr Smith said police took no further action on the complaint and added that Carr "strenuously and consistently" denied the allegations.

He said: "The accusations left Ben Carr with a lasting sense of animosity, hatred, towards Pennie Davis. It didn't, say the Crown, wear off."

Mr Smith said Mrs Davis repeated the allegations against Carr in August last year after she found out that Timothy Carr was to marry his new partner, Alison Macintyre.

He said Mrs Davis sent Facebook messages to Ms Macintyre saying one of the alleged victims of Carr would be making a statement to police.

Mrs Davis wrote in one message: "Good luck, you will need it," and in another: "I can't forgive him, all the shit he gave me, I f****** hate him and all his family."

Mr Smith said: "It was not just spoiling the new family that was starting with the imminent marriage, it was much more than that, she was trying to do something specifically to harm him, to throw his life in utter turmoil with the allegations that he says were falsely made against him.

"The truth of those allegations matter not a jot. When you are simply accused of something like that it touches, in the most difficult way, all parts of your life.

"Ben Carr was going potentially to be labelled. People do not look beyond the allegation - it affects your relationships, it affects your own thoughts, it affects job opportunities. The list is endless and hugely important. It goes on and on.

"Ben Carr, having said from the outset so very clearly and passionately they were not true, being falsely accused of something would have instilled in him an even greater anger and bitterness, you may think.

"So Ben Carr came to the conclusion that killing Pennie Davis was the only means to bring those potential allegations to an end."

The prosecutor said police connected Robertson to the murder scene as he dropped the keys to Maclean's car in the field which were later found by officers searching the area.

Mr Smith said Robertson had a close friendship with Maclean and she would often drive him around.

He added that Robertson and Carr admitted knowing each other as they had a connection through drugs.

The prosecutor said Carr had promised to pay Robertson £1,500 for the killing.

He said: "A cheap price indeed."

Mr Smith said Robertson told acquaintances that Carr had given his reason for the killing that Mrs Davis had abused him as a child.

He said Robertson's reasons for agreeing to carry out the killing were "money and a misguided sense of right and wrong".

He added that Robertson and Maclean deny any part in the murder while Carr claims that he recruited Robertson only to scare Mrs Davis, not kill her.

Mr Smith said that analysis of phone records and geo-location technology, which locates phones from the masts that they connect to, showed that Robertson carried out reconnaissance missions prior to the killing which involved following Mrs Davis from her work at a Sainsbury's supermarket in her home town of Blackfield to the field near Beaulieu where she kept her horses.

He said that, afterwards, the phone records showed that Robertson was in contact with Carr.

Mr Smith said CCTV images which captured Mrs Davis's and Robertson's cars on September 2 showed that he followed her in a similar way to the field on the day of her death.

He added that Carr provided himself with an alibi for the day of the killing but he did not account for his whereabouts when he drove past her place of work that day.

Mr Smith said: "He wanted to be with someone, he was with a friend, went to places where there was CCTV so he would be in a position to say 'Here, have a look, I am there'. What he didn't mention was going to this specific location in his car.

"He was going to see if Pennie was there so he knew the first part of the plan was in place."

He said Mrs Davis suffered 13 stab wounds caused by 10 individual strikes which showed that her attacker had a clear intent to kill her.

But during the attack, Robertson managed to lose the keys to Maclean's Vauxhall Zafira in the field.

Mr Smith said: "Justin Robertson made a grave error. He lost the key to the car he travelled to the murder scene so he was stranded."

He said Robertson then phoned his girlfriend, Lian Doyle, who asked her friend Emily James to pick him up from close to the nearby Beaulieu Motor Museum.

Robertson told police he had been in the area "scoping out places to burgle", Mr Smith said.

He later returned with a friend in a failed attempt to tow the car before returning with another friend with a tow truck who successfully recovered it for Maclean.

Mr Smith said Robertson later confessed to a friend and "justified" his actions by saying that he believed his victim was a "nonce".

He then went to stay with friends near Salisbury before going to stay with his brother in Gloucester before he handed himself in.

Maclean said in police interview that her phone, which had been used to contact Carr following the murder, had been lost and then later said she had lent it to Robertson and answered no comment to other questions.

Mr Smith said that when Mrs Davis's husband found her lying in the field, he initially thought she might have been sunbathing during a "pleasant" afternoon.

He said: "He was screaming for help and became understandably hysterically distraught. His hysteria and his distressed wailing was heard by nearby farmworkers and they came to his assistance."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

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