Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Witness Accused of Murder Trial Lie; Woman Denies Bid to Shift the Blame

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Witness Accused of Murder Trial Lie; Woman Denies Bid to Shift the Blame

Article excerpt


THE partner of a man standing trial for a brutal kidnap and murder was accused of lying in court to help the men in her family.

At Teesside Crown Court, defence barristers accused Jane Tait of trying to shift blame away from the three generations of men in her family accused of the attack on Redcar man John Newton onto their two unrelated co-accused.

Mrs Tait, partner of 52-year-old George Thomas Jnr, who is standing trial along with his father George Thomas Snr, 77, son Steven Thomas, 30, and Lee Woodier and Andrew Jackson, both 25, was giving evidence on behalf of the prosecution in the case.

The witness told the court how she had left the four younger men in the Charlbury Road home she shared with George Jnr in Pallister Park on March 19 - the day John Newton is said to have been kidnapped and violently assaulted - and went to a children's party.

She said the group were out when she returned but got home at around 8pm in her partner's yellow van and George Jnr - who she calls Georgie - came to the house first followed by his son Steven Thomas.

"Did either of them say anything to you?" asked prosecutor Andrew Robertson QC.

"Just that John was in the van," Mrs Tait replied.

"Did they say anything about the condition he was in?" "I can't really remember." "Did you see Lee Woodier or Jacko at all?" "Lee went into the toilet, Jacko came to the house with the (van) keys. He shook the keys at Georgie and said 'I think John's dead'."

"At any stage did you hear Lee Woodier talking about things?" "He was on the phone upstairs saying he had done 'that' and jumped all over his head."

The court heard that Mrs Tait had not mentioned the comments she attributed to Woodier in her first statement to police the day after the alleged attack but added them later on, and that the comments she attributed to Jackson were aired for the first time in court.

Nirmal Shant QC, defending Woodier, said to Mrs Tait: "Let's just summarise your evidence. It boils down to this, does it, according to you, you heard nothing to suggest that either your partner or your stepson Steven did anything? …

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