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Partner of Rochester murderer helped him flee the country to Turkey, court hears

The partner of a murder fugitive is facing prison after helping him flee Kent.

Days earlier, drug dealer Billy Dole had stabbed a man in revenge before leaving his body under Rochester Bridge in September 2018.

Rachel Woods at front with her mum Linda Harris
Rachel Woods at front with her mum Linda Harris

As officers began a murder hunt, the 29-year-old killer flew to Istanbul to avoid being quizzed.

Now a jury at Maidstone Crown Court has decided that Dole's lover, Rachel Woods coughed up cash, together with her mother, for the £200 air ticket.

Woods, 32, of Chorister Crescent, Hoo, had denied assisting an offender but a jury rejected her claim she knew nothing about why Dole was leaving the UK.

A second woman, Woods' mother Linda Harris, 56, of School Road, Marshland St James, Wisbech, Norfolk, had admitted a similar charge and the two will be sentenced in January.

Prosecutor Tom Godfrey had told the jury how on September 17, 2018 victim Peter Beale made an arrangement to buy drugs from a runner but instead robbed him.

Peter Beale was stabbed to death
Peter Beale was stabbed to death

"This action was to have fatal repercussions because the runner immediately telephoned his boss, Bill Dole. Mr Beale was quickly located and was then stabbed to death by Dole.

"The Crown say this was a brutal murder committed in revenge. We know it was murder because earlier this year Dole pleaded guilty to murder."

After the killing, Dole went to the home in Hoo which he shared with Woods.

Mr Godfrey added: "Arrangements were then quickly made for Dole to flee the country.

"Flights were paid for by Rachel Woods and her mother Linda Harris. The bookings were made using Woods' contact details, her phone number and email address."

The murder happened under Rochester Bridge in September 2018
The murder happened under Rochester Bridge in September 2018

He said it was then that Harris drove Dole to Stansted Airport where he fled to Turkey and then went on to Northern Cyprus.

Mr Godfrey added: "He was able to flee the country and therefore able to evade the police for a very serious crime that he had committed.

"He was able to do that with the assistance of Harris and Woods. They knew Dole had committed a very serious offence. They knew he had killed a man and it was for this reason they helped him escape.

"It is not suggested that either of these women were involved in the murder, however, those who assist offenders should be held accountable for their actions

Dole, 29, was arrested a week later at Gatwick.

Woods was told she now faces a jail sentence. She will be sentenced at a later date.

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