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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Axe victim's 'wife swapping' parties
Jan Charlton
Jan Charlton struck Mr O'Brien 20 times with an axe
A friend of a man who was hacked to death with an axe by his partner has told a jury the couple were planning to split up days before the killing.

Patricia Walker, 42, was giving evidence in the trial of Jan Charlton who is accused of murdering Danny O'Brien, 40, at their home near Wakefield.

Ms Charlton, 36, a former escort girl, has denied murdering Mr O'Brien, claiming she killed him in self-defence

On Tuesday, the jury at Leeds Crown Court also heard how Mrs Walker had taken part in wife-swapping sex sessions with Mr O'Brien.

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

Mrs Walker, who had known Mr O'Brien for 20 years, said: "We got drunk on a couple of occasions and we had some wife-swapping parties.

"It did not last for a long time. It was just youthful, something to do."

Mr O'Brien was found naked and handcuffed in his blood-splattered bedroom with an axe embedded in his head on 23 May 2001.

Ms Charlton said she acted in self-defence after he threatened to kill her and her and her four-year-old daughter, Amy.

The prosecution claims she killed him because he was leaving her for one of his ex-girlfriends.

Mrs Walker told the jury she spoke to Mr O'Brien about his plans to leave Ms Charlton two days before he died.

She said: "He told me at that moment in time it was a secret, but they were splitting up and not to tell anyone.

"They weren't telling any friends and family at that stage until everything was sorted out financially."

The trial continues.


Click here to go to Leeds
See also:

12 Apr 02 | England
Hacked man was 'soulmate'
11 Apr 02 | England
Woman 'executed' partner with axe
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