Titchener trial hangs on a knife edge (subs: dodgy headline? Ed)
Ambridge was reeling this week from revelations in Borchester Crown Court, where Helen Titchener stands trial for the attempted murder and malicious wounding of her husband Robert at their home in April this year.
In a series of emotional and tense exchanges, the jury heard Mrs Titchener accuse her husband of multiple counts of rape, an allegation repeated by his first wife Jessica Myers, who made a late and dramatic appearance as a witness for the defence.
In rebuttal, a tearful Mr Titchener strongly denied the allegations, claiming he was a victim of ‘needy, unstable women’, who for some reason seemed to find him attractive.
The court also heard the account of five-year-old Henry Archer, recorded on video, which appeared to cast doubt on Mrs Titchener’s claim that on the night of the attack she acted to protect her son from her husband.
In closing speeches, the defendant’s barrister Anna Tregorran said Mr Titchener had subjected his wife to two years of ‘bullying, mind games and sexual violence’, which finally drove her to try to escape with Henry, even though she was heavily pregnant.
Mr Titchener’s barrister, Michael Byfield, argued that Mr Titchener had done his best to care for his ‘sick, erratic’ wife and that by stabbing her husband repeatedly, failing to call an ambulance and attempting to clear up after the attack, Mrs Titchener had shown intent to kill him.
Eleven jurors have now retired to consider their verdict. One juror had earlier been dismissed for tweeting from the courtroom (see ‘Letter to The Editor’.)
Public outbursts prompt judge’s warnings
The judge in charge of the Titchener case threatened to clear the public gallery on a number of occasions this week after a series of ‘unprecedented’ interruptions to proceedings.
‘In all my years on the bench I have never heard anything like it,’ he said. ‘The constant stage-whispering from members of Mrs Titchener’s family made it almost impossible to hear some of the evidence and nearly jeopardised her defence.
‘Of course, one is used to emotional outbursts in the witness box, such as those we heard from Mrs Titchener’s friend Miss Miller – although that young lady risked contempt of court in her unprompted attack on Mr Titchener.
‘But this is a court of law, not the lounge bar of the Dog and Duck. Members of the jury can hear Tony, Pat and Tom Archer wittering on any day of the week. I nearly wore out my gavel trying to get them to pipe down.’
Councillor ‘too busy’ to attend court
Parish Council chairman Neil Carter, who was expected to appear as a character witness at the trial, denied he’d been put under pressure not to attend.
‘I was very busy that day; a couple of weaners were scouring and I had terrible trouble with the pignut delivery,’ he said. ‘The fact that my wife Susan threatened to take her special chilli off the menu for good if I spoke up for Helen had nothing to do with it.’
Mrs Carter said she was ‘relieved’ that her husband had decided not to take Mrs Titchener’s side in the case.
‘We’re fond of Helen of course, but Mr Titchener was a hero of the flood, and he’s always so polite in the Post Office,’ she said. ‘And look what can happen when you speak out. Poor Ian Craig. That lawyer got him to admit he didn’t like Rob, because Rob had told him about his husband Adam’s affairs with Charlie Thomas the estate manager and a fruit picker. Who’d have thought it? The farm boss and a fruit picker. Even I didn’t know about that one. And now it’s all going to be in the papers… without me having to tell anyone!’
Buttygate threatens to derail the case
Court proceedings were disrupted on Thursday when police were called in to investigate a suspicious package. ‘The court was temporarily evacuated,’ said Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns). ‘Witnesses said the abandoned parcel was emitting fumes and a noxious smell, and these days you can’t be too careful.
‘Fortunately, sniffer dogs revealed the contents to be a package of egg-and-cress, meat paste and tuna sandwiches, which – well let’s just say they were well past their sell-by date.’
The sandwiches were traced to Mrs Shula Hebden Lloyd of The Stables. ‘I’d brought them for Helen’s family, but they didn’t seem to want them – probably too stressed to eat,’ she said. ‘Then when Rob’s father, who was sitting next to me, started shouting horrible things about Jess and Helen I jumped up in horror and ran out, leaving my basket behind.’
Mrs Hebden Lloyd apologised to the court and was served an ASBO (All-Sandwich Banning Order). ‘At least one good thing will come out of this trial,’ said a witness.
Does Lucky the turkey have the answer?
The jury may still be out, but one local family reckon they know the result already – thanks to Lucky the psychic turkey.
‘People have been flocking to Grundys Field to see Lucky all week,’ said Eddie Grundy of Grange Farm. ‘All we ask them to do is pay £5 to buy two small bags of seed – one plain, and one dyed red with my Clarrie’s food colouring. They put them in Lucky’s pen and whichever one he goes for, that’s the verdict.’
So far, Lucky has consistently gone for the red seed, predicting a ‘red card’ or guilty verdict for Helen. ‘Some people say it’s in bad taste, but a man’s got to make a living, especially after ElfWorld had to close,’ said Mr Grundy. ‘And if poor Helen is convicted, at least Lucky’s fattening up nicely for Christmas.’
Letter to the Editor
I am writing to you because, although all journalists are crooks and liars (thanks, Ed) at least you have not stooped to the gutter like that rag The Borchester Echo and branded my son Robert a rapist.
My point is: why, oh why, oh why should we taxpayers fund this tin-pot legal system that would shame even the most benighted banana republic? Events at Borchester Crown Court this week have proved Her Majesty’s judiciary to be a pusillanimous shadow of traditional English justice, admired the world over for burning witches and jailing homosexuals.
I refer of course to Judge Loomis’s decision to dismiss the brave juror who expressed his view, as an Englishman has a right to do, on the appalling scenario that was unfolding in front of his very eyes in court. This stout yeoman took to so-called ‘social media’ – I believe it is called ‘Twatter’ – to sum up the case with admirable brevity. ‘Sick of man-hating lezzers like Helen Titchener; I’ll make sure she goes down.’
The fact that a clear-eyed, right-thinking individual like this has been denied his right to decide the fate of that deranged harpy who my son Robert was careless enough to get with child, is a travesty.
(Note to subs: please forward to the Telegraph. More their kind of thing. Ed).