Killer 'claimed axeman was a psychopath'

A former escort girl who hacked her boyfriend to death with an axe said after the killing that whoever committed the crime was a "psychopath", a court has heard.

A jury at Leeds Crown Court heard a taped conversation between Jan Charlton, 36, and 72-year-old Elizabeth O'Brien - the mother of Danny O'Brien.

Mr O'Brien was found dead with an axe in his head at his home in May last year.

Mrs O'Brien, from Bolton, Lancashire, had to leave the court in tears as the 35-minute recording, taped by her a week after her son's death, was played to the jury.

In the recording, Jan Charlton, who has admitted killing Mr O'Brien, 40, but denies murder, describes how she last saw her partner playing with her and her daughter, Amy, in the garden of their house.

She is heard to say to Mrs O'Brien: "You've got to remember, the last time I saw him your son was having a fantastic time sat in the garden with me and Amy playing. That's what I keep thinking about. The last time I saw him alive he was really happy."

Mrs O'Brien is heard to ask Charlton about how the police investigation is progressing and describes whoever did it as a "horrible animal". Charlton replies to this: "We said anybody who did that must be a psychopath."

At another point in the tape, Charlton is heard to say: "I feel guilty because I can't forget. I'll never forget. I'm trying to hold it together so much for Amy."

Mr O'Brien was found dead in the master bedroom of the home he shared with Charlton at Woodside Hall, Midgley, West Yorkshire, on May 23 last year.

Although Charlton has admitted killing him, she denies murder, saying she was acting in lawful self-defence after her partner threatened to kill both her and her daughter. She also claims provocation.

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