Chalcots Estate murder trial: Hannah Leonard 'killed by drinking companion hours after leaving pub', court told
PUBLISHED: 15:02 30 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:05 30 October 2018
Mother-of-one Hannah Leonard was stabbed to death in her Chalcots Estate flat by one or both of her drinking companions from the same evening, the Old Bailey heard today.
Ms Leonard, 55, was stabbed multiple times with a kitchen knife and a pair of scissors on the night of February 5 to 6, prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said this afternoon.
Her body was discovered on the floor of her kitchen, in Bray Tower, by a worker painting the outside of the Swiss Cottage block on February 9. He had gone to close a window to Ms Leonard’s flat that was ajar, preventing work.
Ms Leonard had been drinking earlier in the evening with Lucy Casey, 43, of Claire Court in Kilburn, and James Whitaker, 28, of Chamberlayne Road in Kensal Rise.
They had met at the Sir Colin Campbell pub in Kilburn High Road, and left shortly after 10.30pm. A controller at nearby AC Cars said all three of them were drunk when they hired a cab later in the night.
A jury heard that Ms Leonard, who lived in Bray Tower, had Huntington’s Disease, and would go binge drinking every two weeks. Ms Whitehouse told the court Ms Leonard had admitted to her Huntington’s Disease adviser that, when she had been drinking, she would find it hard to control her mood.
“She told the adviser that she could switch from being tearful, to laughing, to being aggressive,” said Ms Whitehouse.
Ms Leonard, along with Casey and Whitaker, were seen on CCTV entering Bray Tower together just before 11.45pm. It was the last time Ms Leonard was shown alive. Footage later showed Whitaker and Casey leaving the tower at 2.51am on February 6.
Appearing via video, Casey, along with Whitaker, who was in court, looked on as Ms Whitehouse told jurors that footage of them leaving showed Casey in a coat Ms Leonard had worn earlier in the evening. Casey was also carrying a red handbag that looked similar to one Ms Leonard had been seen with that night.
The coat was later discovered when Casey was arrested on February 11. The bag has never been found.
When Ms Leonard was found days later, she had been dead for some time and had multiple stab wounds, the jury heard.
Judge Leonard, presiding, heard Ms Leonard’s blood was found on a kitchen knife and pair of scissors in the kitchen. Tests also showed Casey’s blood on the handle of both weapons, and the tip of the kitchen knife.
Ms Whitehouse said: “There does not appear to be any dispute that Hannah Leonard was killed while she was in their company, between 11.43pm on Monday 5 and 2.51am on Tuesday 6. The question for you to consider would appear to be what part, if any, each of them played in the attack which killed Hannah Leonard.”
The case continues.