Two teenage sweethearts ‘murdered a church-going dinner lady and her 13-year-old daughter before celebrating by watching vampire film Twilight’
- Dinner lady Elizabeth Edwards and daughter Katie, 13, were killed in April
- Court heard they were both stabbed and then smothered in their beds
- Teenage boy, 15, has admitted murdering the pair at a house in Spalding
- A girl, also 15, admits manslaughter but denies murdering the women
A 15-year-old boy has admitted murdering a school dinner lady and her teenage daughter by stabbing and smothering them to death in their beds as they slept.
The boy crept into their bedrooms and knifed his victims repeatedly in the neck while his female accomplice listened to them ‘struggling and gurgling’, a court heard.
The pair, who were both 14 at the time and cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly plotted the attack at a McDonald’s restaurant the previous night.
The jury heard that after the killings they took a bath together to rinse off blood and watched the teenage vampire romance Twilight.
The bodies of 49-year-old dinner lady Elizabeth Edwards and her 13-year-old daughter Katie, (both pictured in 2014) were found at an address in Spalding, Lincolnshire, on April 15 this year
The teenage boy has already admitted murdering the victims at their semi-detached home, ahead of the start of an eight-day murder trial at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday.
A girl, also 15, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies murdering popular dinner lady Elizabeth Edwards and her 13-year-old daughter Katie on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Wearing a grey cardigan, black leggings and spectacles, she wept in the glass-panelled dock throughout the hearing, flanked by a security guard.
Jurors were told how Ms Edwards and her daughter were both stabbed through the throat in order to damage their voice boxes so they could not make any noise.
Katie was also smothered with a pillow and wrapped in a sheet because the girl ‘did not like the smell of blood’ that had splattered the walls of the bedroom.
Ms Edwards’ relatives broke down in tears in the public gallery as they listened to graphic details of how their loved ones died.
The court heard Katie (pictured) was also smothered with a pillow and wrapped in a sheet because the girl ‘did not like the smell of blood’ that had splattered the walls of the bedroom
Both teenagers are alleged to have planned the killings before carrying them out at the house in Spalding, Lincolnshire on April 15.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Peter Joyce QC said of the victims: ‘They were both stabbed through the throat in their beds at their home.’
The body of 49-year-old Ms Edwards was found lying in bed in her room where she had been repeatedly stabbed, the jury was told, leaving ‘blood spatters’ on the wall, floor, and bedding.
Mr Joyce said a pathologist ‘found eight sharp force injuries of which five were on her hands, which suggested she may have been trying to fend off her killer.’
Ms Edwards had also been stabbed once in the shoulder, and twice – fatally – in the neck with one blow which ‘almost completely cut through her windpipe’.
The Crown’s QC added: ‘The injuries would not have been instantly fatal and there is evidence that Elizabeth Edwards survived for a short time.’
The body of 49-year-old Ms Edwards (pictured left, and right, with her partner) was found lying in bed in her room where she had been repeatedly stabbed, the jury was told
Her daughter was found lying on a mattress in her bedroom with two stab wounds to her neck which suggested ‘the use of severe force’ according to Mr Joyce.
The youngster was also discovered with a pillow over her face.
Mr Joyce added that a post-mortem concluded she died from ‘bleeding – haemorrhage – and smothering’.
The jury heard how the boy had four knives in a backpack, including a large black-handled kitchen knife which was shown to jurors.
The 20-centimetre kitchen knife used in the attack was passed around between members of the jury inside a plastic container.
The court heard it was found by officers on a table in Katie’s bedroom ‘heavily bloodstained’.
The 13-year-old’s DNA was found on the blade and there was evidence to suggest that some of the blood belonged to her mother.
The prosecution barrister said that the boy had then gone into one of the bedrooms where he ‘pinned Mrs Edwards down on the bed by kneeling astride her’.
He added there were noises of a struggle and ‘gurgling sounds while the killing took place’, before a pillow was placed over the victim’s head.
Mr Joyce said: ‘There were blood spatters on the wall – you’ve seen them, blood on the floor and blood on the bed.’
The boy is alleged to have then checked the victim’s pulse, to make sure she was dead.
Ms Edwards’ older daughter, Mary, (pictured left with her partner) arrives at court for the first day of the murder trial, along with Ms Edward’s partner Graham Green (right)
Peter Edwards, father of Katie Edwards, arrives at Nottingham Crown Court today
He then went into the young girl’s bedroom, while his alleged female accomplice waited in the bathroom, where he stabbed the second victim.
Mr Joyce said: ‘From post-mortem findings it seems probable that Katie was smothered with a pillow and also from the position of her body she may have tried to move away from her attacker.
‘Her face was later covered with a sheet as [the girl] did not like the smell of blood.
‘After the killings [the girl] helped [the boy] to take off his bloodied clothes and they took a bath together to wash off any blood and watched episodes of Twilight together.’
Referring to a police interview after their arrest, Mr Joyce said the girl admitted during the planning they had discussed how to kill the mother and daughter.
He added: ‘They had spoken about stabbing them in their necks in order to damage their voice boxes so no noise would be heard.’
Following the deaths relatives of the victims paid tribute on social media sites – with a teenage friend of Katie describing her as being ‘like a sister’ and Ms Edwards as a second mother
Murder victim Liz Edwards enjoying Christmas song with family
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The bodies were found by police who broke down the door to the address on April 15, around 36 hours after the murders.
Inside the house, officers discovered a large kitchen knife in one of the bedrooms, which the prosecution have said was the weapon used in both the killings.
Both teenagers were arrested shortly after officers made the grim discovery.
Dinner lady Ms Edwards, 49, was found murdered at her home along with her daughter Katie Edwards, 13
Mr Joyce told the jury: ‘Let me make it plain from the very outset, what it is you’re trying and what you’re not.
‘She (the defendant) is not denying that she was just as involved in being a party to the killings.
‘She wanted them to happen.’
He added: ‘She is asserting that her mental condition at the time reduces her responsibility from murder to manslaughter.’
The Crown’s QC said: ‘The prosecution’s case is that she will not succeed in proving that her responsiblity was diminished.’
He added that the defendants had ‘shown no hint of remorse’ since the killings.
The two defendants, who are reportedly boyfriend and girlfriend, were aged 14 at the time of the alleged offences.
They are one of the youngest couples ever to be charged with murder.
Today friends and family of the murdered mother and daughter filed into court for the first day of the trial.
Among them were Ms Edwards’ older daughter, Mary Cottingham, her partner Graham Green, and her ex – Katie’s father – Peter Edwards.
Following the deaths relatives of the victims paid tribute on social media sites – with a teenage friend of Katie describing her as being ‘like a sister’ and Ms Edwards as a second mother.
Tributes to the two victims have been left at the scene. Ms Edwards, described as ‘happy and smiling’ by parents at the primary school where she worked
Churchgoing Ms Edwards was described as ‘happy and smiling’ by parents at the primary school where she worked.
Her eldest daughter Mary Cottingham wrote on Facebook at the time: ‘I’m still in shock, can’t believe they are gone. I love them so much, I need my mum.’
The 27-year-old added: ‘Gone too soon but will never be forgotten. I love you both.’
Katie’s father, Peter Edwards, 43 – who was separated from her mother – said: ‘The loved ones around us will keep us strong every step of the way.’
Ms Edwards’ partner, Graham Green, wrote on his Facebook page: ‘My babe has gone but you will always in my heart forever and ever and ever.’
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