Northam Murder: Accused carer told police he 'loved her to bits'

The scene at JH Taylor Drive in Northam where an elderly woman was declared dead, launching a murder enquiry

The scene at JH Taylor Drive in Northam where an elderly woman was declared dead, launching a murder enquiry - Credit: Ray Goldsmith

A carer who is on trial for killing a Northam widow told police they had a brilliant relationship and she treated him like a grandson.

Michael Robinson had been the main carer for Carol Hart for six months before her killing in January this year but had been suspended for allegedly stealing her money three days earlier.

He denied killing her in a police interview and sobbed as he told officers that he had used her bank card to take out thousands of pounds at her request.

He said she had kept the money in an envelope in a drawer in an upstairs room and planned to use it to buy him a car and to pay him to restore her overgrown garden.

Mrs Hart, aged 77, suffered from a crippling spinal condition, arthritis and was recovering from a broken hip when she was killed at her home in J H Taylor Drive, Northam, on Monday January 11 this year.

She had complained to police and the care agency which employed Robinson on Friday, January 8, that he had used her bank card to withdraw about £7,000 without her permission.

A police financial investigation discovered that some of the money had been spent legitimately, reducing the shortfall to £4,000.

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The prosecution at Exeter Crown Court has told the jury that Robinson may have killed Mrs Hart after letting himself into her home by an unlocked back door with the intention of asking her to withdraw the allegation.

They say boot print, fingerprint and DNA evidence show he was at the scene of the killing.

Mrs Hart was killed by a combination of strangulation which broke a bone in her neck and multiple facial fractures caused by punches, kicking or stamping.

Robinson, aged 35, of Seaview Road, Northam, denies murder and the theft.

He was first interviewed by police at 1.50 pm on the day after the body was found. He was noted to have a swollen right hand when arrested and X rays showed the little finger was broken.

He claimed to have hit the back of his hand on a door frame at home while playing with children.

In his first interview he denied stealing any money and said he had handed it all to Mrs Hart, who had kept in an envelope upstairs. He said he did not know why it had not been found by the boss of his care agency who had searched for it over the weekend.

He said he had been Mrs Hart’s carer for six months and got on well with her, even though she had been difficult with others.

He said: “Do you know what? She fell in love with me. We had a brilliant relationship and I started taking her dogs out. She offered to pay me and give me birthday money but I said no.

“Everything was amazing, she was like a grandmother to me and I was like a grandson to her. It was really good. We got on really well.

“I haven’t done it. I haven’t seen Carol since Friday. Someone has done this to her. I loved that woman to bits.”

The trial continues.

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