Northam widow was found half under her bed by carer

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A housebound widow who was allegedly killed by her former carer was found half under her bed.

Carol Hart’s body was discovered in her home in Northam by a stand-in carer three days after alleged killer Michael Robinson was suspended on suspicion of stealing thousands of pounds from her.

Mrs Hart, aged 77, had been strangled so violently that her neck was broken and suffered two facial fractures from being punched or kicked in the head.

Robinson is on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of her murder. The jury have been told that he was suspended on Friday, January 8, this year after Mrs Hart found at least £4,000 was missing from her account.

He worked for a private North Devon care agency and withdrew the money from cashpoints at a rate of up to £500 a day after being handed the card and PIN by Mrs Hart. He says he had her permission to withdraw the cash.

The prosecution say he killed her in the early hours of Monday, January 11, after going to her home in J H Taylor Drive, Northam, to ask her to withdraw her allegation against him.

They say he is linked to the murder scene by a bloody fingerprint on Mrs Hart’s bed and by a boot which was recovered from a rubbish tip and which had her blood on the outside and his DNA on the inside.

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Robinson, aged 35, of Seaview Road, Northam, denies murder and the theft. He says someone else carried out the murder and there are innocent explanations for the forensic evidence.

Carer Fiona Robinson, who is not related to the defendant, said she found Mrs Hart’s body while on a morning visit to her home.

She said she was half under the bed with two hospital style hospital tables overturned and on her legs.

She said: “The first thing that struck me was the blood on the bed and floor. Carol was laid over an electrical extension lead. I saw the scene and dialled 999.

“I screamed at the operator for an ambulance. I did not know whether to scream or cry. The poor woman on the other end of the line got the brunt of it.

“A gentleman from the ambulance service took over the call and asked the usual questions about whether she was breathing and I said no.

“He told me to put her on her back and start CPR and I told him I wasn’t trying to be funny, but she was a dead weight. I did get her on her back and started CPR although I didn’t think she was alive.

“I saw quite a lot of blood coming from her head and when I tried CPR, blood came from her mouth and the man told me to stop.”

She said the agency had told her that Robinson was off sick instead of suspended and so she tried to ring him and texted him to ask him to come round.

He rang her shortly afterwards but ambulance paramedics had arrived by this time and told her she should not be making any calls.

She said: “Michael was quite distraught because my text made it clear something was wrong. He said ‘what’s going on, is she alright? I said I’d try to call him later but didn’t think he would be coming again.

“I don’t remember if I told him Carol was dead. Everything was a blur at that time.”

The trial continues.

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