Ramsgate mother Sarah Ripley hid bloodied knife after stabbing partner James Heddington, court told
by Paul Hooper
A Margate woman accused of stabbing her lover to death hid the
bloodied knife before trying to pass it to a neighbour, it has been
Sarah Ripley, 21, denied murdering junkie partner James
Heddington during a fight at their home in September last
But a jury at Canterbury Crown Court heard how neighbours near
the flat in Fort Crescent heard people arguing followed by
a "very large bang".
As paramedics were treating the injured man, Ripley is alleged
to have returned to her flat and retrieved a knife from underneath
Neighbour Douglas McCullum told the court today: "She then
handed it to me. Then she said: 'What do I do? What do I do?'. I
told her to wash it."
Prosecutor OIiver Saxby QC claimed another neighbour Pat Ward
had gone outside after hearing a noise.
"There she saw Mr Heddington lying on the floor outside her
door. He was moaning. She asked Ripley what the noise was about and
she replied: 'He's been stabbed'.
"According to Ms Ward, she seemed calm but she noticed she was
unsteady on her feet. She then stumbled as she pulled a child's
buggy out of the way. And thinking Ripley was drunk, Ms Ward
retreated back into her flat."
Ripley - who was pregnant expecting twins at the time – is
alleged to have stabbed the 29-year-old drug addict with a
Mr Saxby told how two other neighbours Vanessa Quashie and Mr
McCullum were alerted by Ripley trying to get their attention by
throwing something at their window.
"Ripley was hysterical and asking for help. Mr McCullum saw Mr
Heddington lying on the ground, obviously in a bad way.
"She asked him what she should do and thinking that she had stabbed Mr Heddington with it, he told her to wash it, which she did..." – Oliver Saxby QC
"Ripley was crying. She was holding something to his stomach.
And when this was moved he could see that Mr Heddington had a stab
wound to the stomach."
He said that when paramedics arrived, the couple went upstairs
to Ripley's flat.
The prosecutor added: "They were alone. As soon as she entered,
Ripley went straight over to the rug in the sitting room, bent
down, pulled it back and retrieved a kitchen-type knife from under
“Mr McCullum could see there was blood on it, he thought, on the
handle and blade. She was holding the blade and offered him the
handle. But he was scared and didn't want to touch it.
"She asked him what she should do and thinking that she had
stabbed Mr Heddington with it, he told her to wash it, which
she did, wiping it with a cloth and leaving it in the sink with
some dirty dishes.
"At one point, Mr McCulum asked her why she had done it, why she
had stabbed Mr Heddington and she replied that they had been
fighting, that he had been hitting her," alleged the
The trial continues.
- Click here for more Thanet news...
- Click here for more news from across the county...