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Wednesday, 1 May, 2002, 19:35 GMT 20:35 UK
Axe jury hears tape evidence
Jan Charlton
Jan Charlton has admitted killing her partner
The mother of a man hacked to death with an axe left a court in tears as she heard a taped conversation she had with his killer.

During the recording, Jan Charlton, 36, describes the moment she last saw Danny O'Brien playing in the garden with her daughter.

But Ms Charlton later admitted killing Mr O'Brien at their home in Wakefield in May last year.

The former escort girl has denied murder, telling Leeds Crown Court she acted in self-defence after Mr O'Brien threatened her and her daughter.

Danny O'Brien
Danny O'Brien's was found bound and gagged

The jury heard the 35-minute taped conversation between Ms Charlton and Mr O'Brien's 72-year-old mother Elizabeth, in court on Wednesday.

In the recording, made a week after her Mr O'Brien's death, Ms Charlton describes how she last saw her partner playing with her and her daughter in the garden of their house.

She is heard to say to Mrs O'Brien: "You've got to remember, the last time I saw him your son was having a fantastic time sat in the garden with me and Amy playing.

"That's what I keep thinking about. The last time I saw him alive he was really happy."

Unbearable thought

Mrs O'Brien, from Bolton, Lancashire, is heard to ask Ms Charlton about how the police investigation is progressing and describes whoever did it as a "horrible animal".

Ms Charlton replies to this: "Anybody who did that must be a psychopath."

Ms Charlton was clearly emotional throughout much of the conversation, and at one point said to the elderly woman: "The thought of never being able to hold him again is so unbearable."

Mr O'Brien, 40, was found dead in the master bedroom of his home at Woodside Hall, Midgley, West Yorkshire, on 23 May last year.

"Total daze"

The court also heard a transcript of the interview Charlton gave to detectives at Wakefield Police Station on 3 July, 2001.

In the interview statement, read in court by a detective, Charlton said Mr O'Brien had threatened her and her daughter.

She said: "There was no way he was going to kill Amy and me."

Describing her feelings after killing Mr O'Brien with an axe, Charlton told the detectives: "I didn't know I'd killed him. I was just in a daze, a total and utter daze."

The case continues.

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See also:

23 Apr 02 | England
Axe killer 'forced to have sex'
23 Apr 02 | England
Escort past of axe killer
17 Apr 02 | England
Axe victim's 'sex kit'
12 Apr 02 | England
Hacked man was 'soulmate'
11 Apr 02 | England
Woman 'executed' partner with axe
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