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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 15:18 GMT
Family starved and beat Rachel
By Catherine Cashmore
BBC News

Rachel Hudson
Ms Hudson was ritually beaten during a family power struggle
Mother-of-two Rachel Hudson was killed by the very people she should have been able to trust - her husband and in-laws.

Rachel, 20, was neglected, starved and beaten at the family home in Stockhill, Nottingham, until she died.

During taped conversations, her mother-in-law Trudi, 44, and brother-in-law Shane, 19, discussed their treatment of her.

In one of those calls, played to Nottingham Crown Court, Trudi admitted slapping her, and Shane told his mother: "You might as well just hang her up with a bit of rope and use her as a punchbag."

She replied: "I gave her one for you."

Blood clot

"You really want to go to town on her," added Shane. "Slap her in the boot, take her down a country lane and just drop her off somewhere."

That, the prosecution said, was eventually her fate.

In another phone call on Valentine's Day, 2004, Shane and his mother feared their treatment of Rachel could kill her.

"Could end up a murder case," said Trudi.

Evidence of phone conversations between members of the family in which they discussed her injuries, including a suspected blood clot in her head and a split tooth, was also presented to the court.

Rachel's husband Craig, 21, Craig's parents Ronald Snr, 49, and Trudi, their son Ronald Jnr, 23, and 19-year-old Elisabeth Hogg, all of Overdale Dale, Stockhill, were found guilty of murder. Craig's sister Charlene, 18, was cleared.

Rachel was made a prisoner after a failed attempt to escape, when she and Craig ran away to a council-run shelter.

'Family from hell'

They were trying to flee the "controlling" Hudson family, with whom they lived.

The in-laws, described as the "family from hell" in court, reported the pair missing and as a result police told them where they were staying.

They were refused a change in council accommodation and were forced to return to the family home - when the ritual beatings of Rachel began.

After initially siding with his wife, Craig reverted to type as a Hudson, and like the other family members, he admitted participating in the abuse.

When questioned over Rachel's disappearance, Trudi Hudson told police she had left Stockhill.

Abuse and neglect

The family circulated a rumour in their community that she had run off with another man, leaving her husband and two children.

They continued to abuse and neglect her at the family home in Overdale Road until she eventually died on 17 March 2004.

Police believe the ritual beatings were part of a power struggle as the Hudson family fought to dominate their son's life.

That struggle was played out in court as Ronald Hudson Snr and his wife blamed one another for encouraging the abuse.

Trudi described her husband as a person "who controls everyone and everything".

But Ronald Hudson Snr claimed he was powerless to stop the abuse of Rachel because no-one would listen to him.

Five guilty in family murder case
21 Dec 05 |  Nottinghamshire

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