Second woman charged with murder of Lancashire businesswoman Sadie Hartley

A second woman has been charged with the murder of a businesswoman who was stabbed to death at her home.
Sadie HartleySadie Hartley
Sadie Hartley

Mother-of-three Sadie Hartley, 60, was found dead at her house in Sunny Bank Road, Helmshore, Lancashire, on Friday evening.

Katrina Walsh, 55, of Hare Lane, Chester, is due to appear at Blackburn Magistrates' Court.

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Sarah Williams, 34, of Blacon, Chester, appeared in court on Wednesday charged with the murder of Ms Hartley, who ran a medical communications business, Hartley Taylor, in Knutsford, Cheshire.

Williams, of Treborth Road, did not enter a plea to the allegation that she murdered Ms Hartley on Thursday January 14.

Ms Hartley has been described by her long-term partner Ian Johnston as "a wonderful mother, sister, partner and friend".

Mr Johnston, 54, an ex-fireman and volunteer with Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue team, was on a skiing holiday in the Swiss Alps at the time of his partner's death.

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In a statement on Wednesday he said he and the family of Ms Hartley - who had two grown-up daughters and a son - were "utterly distraught" at her death.

He said: "Sadie was a wonderful mother, sister, partner and friend.

"We are all utterly distraught following her senseless, brutal murder.

"She was a respectable, hard-working person who had run a successful business that supported medical services."

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Mr Johnston, who was questioned by police but not as a suspect, works as a technical adviser for International Camp Suisse - a summer school in the Swiss Alps during the summer months.

He added: "It is an utter tragedy that she has been taken so unnecessarily from us and will be sadly missed by all those who knew her."

He requested that the family be left in peace to enable them to "cope with this terrible event".

Detectives have appealed for help in tracing several people seen near Ms Hartley's home on Thursday evening last week, including the driver of a passing car.

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A police spokesman said officers wanted to identify a person seen passing a man as he walked out of Sunny Bank Road that evening and an unknown person who walked into the cul-de-sac before leaving a few minutes later.

They also want to trace the driver of an "old-style" Renault Clio which was seen arriving in Sunny Bank Road just before 8pm on the night and driving off moments later.

The investigating team is also keen to hear from anyone with information about people asking for the location of Sunny Bank Road in the days or weeks leading up to the murder.

They said a man and a jogger seen on the road had been identified as local residents.