Couple ‘starved man to death for windfall’

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Image caption Lynda and Wayne Rickard are implicated of the murder of James Sootheran

A couple “starved” a susceptible guy to death to take from his multimillion-pound estate, a court has actually heard.

Anthony Sootheran, 59, was discovered dead in a “nasty, unclean cell” by a physician at his house near Banbury, Oxfordshire, in March 2014.

Reading Crown Court heard he was starved by Lynda Rickard, who was helped by her hubby Wayne, to protect the “windfall that she yearned for”.

Mr and Mrs Rickard, of Edinburgh Close, Banbury, reject murder and scams.

Mrs Rickard, 61, confesses taking cash from Mr Sootheran’s accounts, creating his will, and doing the exact same for his late mom, Joy.

‘Stained bedding’

Prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC stated Mr Sootheran was discovered in a “dreadful state” when checked out in 2013 by Richard Stubbs, who handled the household’s trust.

He stated: “The bedding was stained and appeared like it had actually not been altered in months.

“A window pane was broken. In the corner, there was a stack of Anthony’s hair.

“There was no tv in the space. There were no books, or publications.

“In short, it was a cell. A nasty, unclean cell.”

Image copyright TVP
Image caption Mr Sootheran was kind however a “recluse susceptible to self-neglect”, the court heard

He stated Mrs Rickard’s scams had actually ended up being “entirely regular and brazen” as she started “considering up a windfall” – possibly approximately £ 3.4 m-which depended on Mr Sootheran’s death.

“In the easiest of terms, helped by her partner, she starved him to death, therefore protecting for herself and her household the windfall that she yearned for,” Mr Saxby stated on the very first day of the trial.

From 2006 the couple lived at High Havens Farm, in South Newington, near Banbury, which was owned by Mr Sootheran.

Image copyright TVP
Image caption Joy Sootheran’s estate deserved about £ 1.5 m

Mr Sootheran and his mom relocated with the Rickards in early 2008 so that Mrs Rickard might take care of Mrs Sootheran.

She passed away in August 2012, aged 91.

Mr and Mrs Rickard were forced out from the farm following a court order in 2017.

The court heard Mr Sootheran, an effective business owner, was kind however a “recluse susceptible to self-neglect” after dealing with long-lasting psychological illness.

Mr Saxby stated that background was a “best cover” for Mrs Rickard to take from him after she had actually done the exact same to his mom’s cash and will.

When she passed away, Mrs Sootheran’s estate deserved about £ 1.5 m.

Under Mrs Rickard’s created will half of that would have gone to her, while the other half would have gone to Mr Sootheran.

Mr Saxby informed the court Mr Rickard, 64, had actually declared he “had really little to do” with Mr Sootheran prior to his death.

“There is a component of the ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no wicked’ to his defence,” Mr Saxby stated.

The prosecution declares they purchased a Mitsubishi Shogun 4×4, worth about £ 30,000, with Mrs Sootheran’s cash in 2010.

Image caption James Sootheran purchased High Havens Farm, where the Rickards lived from 2006

Three other individuals are likewise on trial for being witnesses to the Sootheran wills.

Michael Dunkley, 48, of Brickle Lane, Bloxham, and Denise Neal, 39, of Radway Road, Lower Tysoe, are implicated of scams.

Shanda Robinson, 50, of Sage Road, Banbury, is implicated of scams and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

June Alsford, 77, of Little Lane, Aynho, has actually confessed scams and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-51204096

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