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Last Updated: Friday, 10 December, 2004, 20:37 GMT
Ex-lover admits horsewoman murder
The ex-lover of a horsewoman found stabbed to death in a field near stables has admitted murdering her.

Stephen Griffiths, 41, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to killing 35-year-old Rana Faruqui when he appeared at Reading Crown Court.

Griffiths, a former surveyor, pleaded not guilty to the crime in January but changed his plea on Friday.

Miss Faruqui, of Farnham Common, Bucks, was found dead in a field near Jennings Farm in Burnham, Bucks, in August 2003.

Harassment and stalking

The court heard the attack followed months of harassment and stalking, including incidents when Griffiths was spotted photographing his former lover's home and rummaging through her bins.

On 2 August, police and ambulance staff rushed to the stables after Miss Faruqui dialled 999 on her mobile phone when she spotted Griffiths entering the field.

On his back he carried a holdall containing three knives, a pair of binoculars and a truncheon.

In his car, he kept a range of items including a chisel, a mallet, two bow saws, duct tape, an industrial bag, rope and a crowbar, the court was told.

International manhunt

Just over two minutes into the conversation, the emergency services operator heard Miss Faruqui say: "You are not allowed to come anywhere near me, Steve, Steve, leave me alone, leave me alone."

Less than 10 seconds later, the operator could hear the beginning of a struggle in which Miss Faruqui died.

The full transcript of the conversation was not read out in court, but prosecutor Michael Lawson QC, said: "It requires little imagination to hear those words that are recorded there and the anguish with which they are spoken."

Defence counsel Joanna Glynn QC told the court that Griffiths had not set out to kill his ex-lover but rather harm her psychologically by killing her horse and destroying the carriage she used for competitive events.

Ms Glynn told the court that after the murder, Griffiths had taken an overdose but woke "surprised to be alive". He eventually gave himself up to police.

The death prompted Thames Valley Police to launch an international manhunt.

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