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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 19:35 GMT 20:35 UK
Hacked man was 'soulmate'
Jan Charlton
Jan Charlton has admitted killing Danny O'Brien
A jury has heard how a former escort girl had found her "soulmate" in the man she is accused of murdering.

A former client of Jan Charlton - identified in court as Mr B - was giving evidence on the second day of her trial.

Ms Charlton has claimed she acted in self-defence when she killed Mr O'Brien, 41, at their home near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and has denied murder.

The divorced businessman was found naked in his blood-splattered bedroom with the axe embedded in his head.

Danny O'Brien
Danny O'Brien was found dead in his bedroom

It was later found he had been hit 20 times with the two-feet-long weapon.

Mr B told Leeds Crown Court on Friday that Ms Charlton believed she had found her "soulmate" in Mr O'Brien, despite his possessive nature.

Mr O'Brien had been one of Ms Charlton's clients while working as an escort.

Mr B, said: "She agreed that it was not all hunky-dory. But she loved him and was meant to be with him and she was prepared to do what he wanted.

"Danny requested that she severed all ties from her previous life - all her friends, all her contacts. I thought it was a bit extreme."

Mr B told the court he met Charlton through the internet company UK Escorts where he first knew her as "Natasha".


Every time I spoke to her she was falling more and more in love with him

Mr B

He said he booked her as an escort at the rate of 50 an hour and eventually began having sex with her at some of their meetings.

Mr B said they became close and he was concerned about her finances.

They had an agreement in which he paid her 150 to 200 a month mainly for company but occasionally sex at his home.

Mr B also told the court how Ms Charlton had described her sex life with Mr O'Brien.

He said: "She highlighted that he [Mr O'Brien] was sexually active and liked the swinging scene.

"She explained how he did not have many reservations about things he would or wouldn't do. Nothing seemed to scare him."

'Depraved activities'

Mr B continued: "Every time I spoke to her she was falling more and more in love with him.

"To use her words, she seemed to have found her soulmate."

Earlier, the court heard from Mr O'Brien's former personal assistant who said she had been shocked at newspaper reports of his sex life.

Anne Jarrett said she had been surprised at the stories which emerged after his death on 23 May 2001.

Robert Smith QC, defending, said he was "putting it mildly" when he asked her whether the stories contained "information that he [Mr O'Brien] indulged in depraved, perverse or extraordinary activities and that his tastes were not confined simply to the opposite sex".

Mr Smith said to Mrs Jarrett: "This was a matter of total astonishment to you was it?"

She replied: "It was totally, yes."

Self-defence

Mrs Jarrett told the court she had known Mr O'Brien for four-and-a-half years as a close friend.

She was also his personal assistant while he was a director of electrical repair firm Care & Repair, based at Normanton, West Yorkshire.

Mrs Jarrett said her relationship with Mr O'Brien had never gone beyond friendship.

Ms Charlton admitted through her barrister on Thursday to killing Mr O'Brien at their luxury home at The Old Woodyard, Midgley, near Wakefield.

She claims she was acting in self-defence after he threatened both her and her four-year-old daughter.

The court heard how Ms Charlton told police she had killed Mr O'Brien while the couple had been indulging in a sex session involving a variety of sex toys.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.


Click here to go to Leeds
See also:

11 Apr 02 | England
Woman 'executed' partner with axe
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