Pensioner killed on Christmas Day "didn't have a chance", court told

Court news
Court news

A pensioner was murdered on Christmas Day when he was beaten with his own walking stick and stabbed nearly 100 times in his back, prosecutors have said.

Lindsey Fletcher, 38, claimed she attacked her step-grandfather Michael Eaton when he tried to sexually abuse her as he had done when she was a child, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

But prosecutor Dafydd Enoch QC said Mr Eaton was dominated by Fletcher and was the victim of her violent temper.

Mr Enoch told a jury: "On Christmas Day last year, a 72-year-old man by the name of Michael Eaton was killed in his home.

"He was beaten over the head with a blunt instrument or instruments which almost certainly included his own walking stick which had been his own father's.

"He was also stabbed in the face, head and neck and he was stabbed in the back nearly 100 times."

Mr Enoch said: "He may have put up a bit of a struggle, but not much. He didn't have a chance."

The prosecutor said Fletcher stripped the retired delivery driver's body naked and doused it with bleach before taking her 12-year-old daughter with her to dispose of his clothes on waste ground and in a river.

He said: "In this way, this man's life was ended, horrible, violent and not very dignified, you may think."

Mr Enoch said it appeared that Mr Eaton had abused Fletcher when she was young.

He said she told people she "loathed" him and talked about killing him, researching poisoning on the internet.

The prosecutor said she was a drug addict and went to live with Mr Eaton, despite their history, at his flat in the Balby area of Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

He said: "She had a hold over Mr Eaton and used the fact that he had abused her as a child to milk him for money in order to feed her drugs habit."

He said: "She ruled the roost."

Mr Enoch said: "Lindsey Fletcher told pretty much anyone who would listen that she hated everything about him and wanted him dead."

The prosecutor urged the jury of seven men and five women to reject what he said would be Fletcher's defence to murder, that she lost control when he tried to abuse her again on Christmas Day last year.

He said Fletcher "wouldn't have dared".

Mr Enoch told the jury: "If he did abuse her when she was a child it was unforgivable and disgusting but it does not entitle the defendant to kill him in cold blood."

He said: "No-one in law is entitled to end a life in that way."

The prosecutor said Mr Eaton's body was found on Boxing Day and a pathologist found 91 stab wounds in his back.

Fletcher, of St James's Street, Doncaster, denies murder but admits manslaughter.