Publican convicted of murder

THE stepdaughter of a womanising publican who paid a hitman to kill her mother spoke of her relief last night after he was convicted of murder for the second time.

THE stepdaughter of a womanising publican who paid a hitman to kill her mother spoke of her relief last night after he was convicted of murder for the second time.

Lisa Elsworth was speaking after James Garside, 54, was found guilty at an Old Bailey retrial of killing her mother Marilyn.

Garside plotted to have his estranged wife killed to avoid sharing the money from the sale of their country inn, The Cross Keys, in Redgrave, near Diss.

A few months after the couple sold the pub, he hired Richard Bates, who knifed Mrs Garside, 54, to death on her mother's doorstep.

The pair were convicted of murder two years ago but a retrial was ordered for legal reasons.

Garside used the chance to write to his wife's grieving family from his prison cell to boast he would reveal the "truth".

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However, yesterday a jury at the Old Bailey decided Garside of Castle Acre Road, King's Lynn, Norfolk, and Bates, 50, a frozen foods nightshift worker, of Ullswater Avenue, King's Lynn, were both guilty of murder and jailed them for life.

Last night, Miss Elsworth said: "He sent us a lot of threatening letters. It's never stopped, the harassment and bullying. He was just after money.

"He thought he was entitled to her estate. If he had been found not guilty he would have been entitled to it."

She added: "The thing we wanted was justice for my mum. Everyone loved her and we miss her every day. Because of those two we have lost our mum."

Mr Justice Fulford described Mrs Garside as a "wholly innocent, thoroughly decent and much-liked and loved woman".

He said he agreed with the previous judge that the duo should serve a minimum of 20 years.

"This was a grave crime. It was committed in cold blood for the meanest and basest of reasons," he said.

Garside plotted to have his wife killed so he could live in luxury with his mistresses.

Mrs Garside met him in Romford after her 21-year marriage to brewery worker David Elsworth ended in divorce.

At first, Garside, a divorcee and womaniser, kept the mother-of-two in an on-off relationship and it was not until 1996 that the couple's relationship became more permanent.

Garside suggested moving in with her almost immediately after she was given a £60,000 redundancy package from the firm she had worked with for 20 years.

The couple used most of the money to buy the Cross Keys pub, which they ran together for four years, and married in 1997.

Garside carried on his affairs with various women, including customers at the pub, under the nose of his wife.

He boasted to one of his girlfriends, barmaid Theresa Lovejoy, that he would shoot his wife "like a rabbit".

He told another barmaid he was going to kill Marilyn because he would only get half the £250,000 the pub was worth if he divorced her, the Old Bailey was told.

John Hilton QC, prosecuting, said: "His motive for the killing was money."

He started the affair with Ms Lovejoy while all three lived under the same roof but a few months before the killing he put her into a flat and moved in with a second mistresss Karen Flack, 32.

Through her family he met Peterborough-born Bates, a mechanic with debts.

Bates posed as a stranger asking for help and attacked Mrs Garside when she answered the door at her elderly mother's home at Rose Lane, Romford, on October 2, 2001. Mr Hilton said she was stabbed repeatedly in the chest and neck.

A simple blunder led the police to her killer - Bates had strolled down the garden path and shut the gate, leaving telltale traces of DNA on the door handle and gate latch.

Garside had been 125 miles in King's Lynn, Norfolk, but mobile phone calls between the two men at crucial times linked them to the scene.

Mrs Garside's children and mother had sat in court for the whole of the two-month retrial.

It was ordered after Bates challenged DNA evidence used in the first hearing and his barrister claimed the judge's rulings did not allow him to give his best closing speech to the jury.

Garside was also granted a retrial on the basis that if Bates' conviction was cast into doubt then his role was also questionable.

The new jury were never told that Bates and Garside had already been convicted and jailed for life.

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