Murder accused's 'reign of terror'

MURDER accused Sean Hilton subjected his first wife to a two-year reign of abuse, and tried to strangle his six-year-old stepdaughter from another relationship, a court has heard.

MURDER accused Sean Hilton subjected his first wife to a two-year reign of abuse, and tried to strangle his six-year-old stepdaughter from another relationship, a court has heard.

Teresa Edwards would often suffer from migraines as a result of being “constantly punched in the head” by Hilton, who she married in 1992.

He also tried to strangle her, stab her, and once threw her so hard on to a bathroom rail she ended up in hospital.

The details of Hilton's volatile two-year marriage to Mrs Edwards were revealed during the fourth day of his trial at Cambridge Crown Court, where he stands accused of murdering his 34-year-old lover, Kim Fuller.

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Speaking from behind a screen, Mrs Edwards broke down in tears as she relived the terrifying attacks, which only ended when she finally divorced Hilton in 1994.

“I would wonder if it was going to happen from one day to the next,” she said.

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“His favourite was to punch me around the head, to the extent I would be left with serious migraines, but would always hit the side of may face so no one would see. Sometimes I would just have to say the wrong word and he would do it.

“One day I told him I was going to leave him, and he said 'if you go I will find you and break both your legs'. I never went to the police because I was so frightened of what he would do afterwards.”

On one occasion, Hilton pushed Mrs Edwards on to a settee and put his hand around her throat, she said.

“The more I kicked, the more he pushed down. He also tried to throttle me in the bedroom, then he just let go. I had to go to the doctors because I couldn't speak, and I told him I couldn't carry on the way things were. He said he would change, but deep down I knew he wouldn't.

“One day I was in the bathroom doing some cleaning, and he was arguing about something. He lifted me up, and threw me against the towel rail. I ran out into the street and the next thing I remember is waking up in hospital. He came back a day later as if nothing had happened.”

Mrs Edwards, who works as a lorry driver and has a daughter with Hilton, told the court she finally decided to leave her husband in 1994 and he moved out of their home in Gainsborough.

She added: “I struggle to go anywhere that is crowded because I am scared he will be behind me.”

During the trial yesterday, the court also heard evidence from Hilton's second wife, Carol Hilton, who he married in August 1996, and had a child with a year later.

Although he never abused Mrs Hilton during their six-year relationship, she said he did attack her seven-year-old daughter whilst they were living together in Sutterton, Boston.

Ms Fuller, who was living with her parents in Exning, near Newmarket, at the time of her death, had spent an evening with Hilton at their former home in Soham when she was killed on March 3 last year.

Her body was discovered three days later in a field near the village of Langham, in Norfolk.

Dr Michael Heath, Home Office pathologist, told the court he had discovered bruises on Ms Fuller's jaw, on either side of her Adam's apple, behind the base of her nose, and on her arm.

There was a torn muscle in her back and pressure marks were also found on her hands and wrists, consistent with a thin flex being applied to the skin.

“This makes me wonder whether her hands had been bound,” said Dr Heath, who said Ms Fuller's body had been discovered with blood around the nose and mouth.

“In my opinion death was due to asphyxia caused by upper airway obstruction, which I feel is consistent with having an arm placed around the neck. This is a very powerful hold and can be difficult to release, and is a good mechanism for asphyxia.”

Timothy Barnes, prosecuting, said it had been admitted that Hilton alone killed Ms Fuller at their home in Soham, and had left her body where it was found.

Hilton denies murder. The trial continues.

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