Mother accused of asking men to kill ex-husband after losing custody battle
PUBLISHED: 16:07 03 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:16 03 March 2020
A former Suffolk woman allegedly tried to get four different men to murder her ex-husband out of revenge after losing custody of her child.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard Victoria Breeden felt such "bitterness and anger" that she solicited the murder of Rob Parkes, said Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting.
Breeden, 39, formerly of Bury St Edmunds but whose address was given in court as Black Horse Drove near Littleport, Cambridgeshire, denies endeavouring to persuade the men to separately murder Mr Parkes.
She allegedly offered money to one of the men and told another "I want somebody killed. Can you help?"
Mr Paxton said that while Breeden's efforts were "determined", none of the men carried out her plan.
He told jurors Breeden met Mr Parkes at university in 1999 and they married in 2004.
But the couple separated in 2008 and Mr Parkes was granted custody of a child in 2014 following "protracted" proceedings in the family courts.
"It's this, we say, which drove the defendant in whole or in part to seek retribution against Mr Parkes," he said,
"We say that one of her motives was revenge."
Mr Paxton said Breeden was in a relationship with some of the men who she allegedly tried to persuade to kill Mr Parkes, while others were friends.
The alleged offending is said to have happened over a period of more than five years and Mr Paxton said Breeden was "deadly serious in what she sought".
Breeden is accused of endeavouring to persuade former soldier Hamish Lowry-Martin to murder Mr Parkes between January 1 2014 and December 31 2014.
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Mr Paxton said that Breeden asked Mr Lowry-Martin if he would "do her a favour and sort out her ex-husband."
When Mr Lowry-Martin declined Breeden allegedly asked him if he "knew people back in Scotland who were real nutters" and said she could "get together £5,000", Mr Paxton said.
The second similar charge alleges that Breeden solicited her former boyfriend, handyman Daniel Proctor, to murder Mr Parkes between November 1 2015 and June 1 2016.
Mr Paxton said Breeden told Mr Proctor: "I want somebody killed. Can you help?"
The third charge is of endeavouring to persuade Graham Wall, another former boyfriend, to murder Mr Parkes between October 19 2018 and October 3 2019.
Breeden allegedly said to Mr Wall "you must know someone who can help me get rid of him", Mr Paxton said.
The fourth charge is of trying to persuade Earl Gernon to murder Mr Parkes on October 1 2019.
Mr Paxton said Mr Wall made a secret mobile phone recording of a conversation between Breeden and Mr Gernon after he suspected she was being unfaithful.
Mr Wall left the left the device recording in a cupboard under the stairs at her home before he went to work, Mr Paxton said.
In the recording, Breeden asks Mr Gernon "how easy would it be to make someone disappear", said Mr Paxton.
The prosecution said when Breeden was confronted with the recording by Mr Wall she tried to destroy it.
The court heard that police found £18,000 in cash in a baby milk tin when they searched Breeden's home.
Mr Paxton said Breeden had the "motive and the means" for what she allegedly sought.
The trial continues.