Pregnant Sarah Ripley murdered lover James Heddington in Ramsgate after baby row, court told
Police outside Fort
Crescent in Margate after James Heddington died
by Paul Hooper
A pregnant Margate woman stabbed her lover to death after
the pair argued about who the father of her children was,
a court heard today.
Sarah Ripley, 21, was expecting twins at the time of the
stabbing of her partner James Heddington in September last
Ripley, of Fort Crescent, is on trial at Canterbury Crown Court
accused of murdering the 29-year-old drug addict. She has denied
Prosecutor Oliver Saxby QC told the jury today how the couple's
relationship had deteriorated – and Ripley was also facing a jail
sentence for burglary.
She was wanted by the police when she made a call to the
emergency services saying Mr Heddington was bleeding to death from
a stab wound to his stomach.
Ripley was asked: "Who did this?" and she replied: "I don't
know. I just got back here and found him like that."
Officers arrested her and took her to the police station, where
Ripley is alleged to have smuggled a mobile inside her cell in her
Mr Saxby claimed she then made a call to a friend telling them:
"I'm in big trouble."
The prosecutor alleged she later "changed tack",
claiming the father-of-two had stabbed himself.
He told the jury: "As of late their relationship had begun to
sour. It is plain there were a number of factors, first of all Mr
Heddington was a drugs user and had been for a very long time.
"So long in fact, that his family had begun to despair of him
and the kind of erratic and disruptive - and at times – aggressive
behaviour so often linked to serious drugs use."
Mr Saxby claimed Ripley had also lived "a chaotic
existence" in the life she shared with her lover.
"Two volatile characters then and there were also two
significant additional pressures at play," he said. "First of all
Ripley was five months' pregnant with twins. She has since had them
"The twins apparently were Mr Heddington's, though it seems he
harboured doubts about this."
He also said Ripley had failed to turn up at Canterbury Crown
Court for two burglaries – and an arrest warrant had been
Mr Saxby added: "Plainly, the offences involved were serious
ones likely to attract an immediate custodial sentence – in spite
of the fact she was pregnant."
He told the jury that on the day of the stabbing, Mr Heddington
had been borrowing phones from a number of people because he had
The two had a number of arguments before meeting up for a drink
at the Rose In June, in Margate, where Ripley appeared drunk.
A short while later, Mr Heddington borrowed another person's
phone and during a row with Ripley threatened to go to Margate
station and jump in front of a train, the court heard.
The trial, which is expected to last four weeks, continues.
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