Nelson mum murder trial: defendant tells of ‘shock’ at girlfriend’s death

debra walsh

debra walsh

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A MAN who denies murdering his girlfriend at her Nelson flat has told a jury he grabbed hold of a scarf she was wearing and pulled it to calm her down during a row.

Carl Field demonstrated at Preston Crown Court how he pulled each end of the scarf in a quick motion, holding it like that for seconds. He told the court: “I didn’t think I’d done it really, really hard. I just thought I’d use enough force to stop her from hitting me and calm her down.”

The 34-year-old, of St Philip’s Street, Nelson, denies murdering Debra Walsh, also 34, between February 21st and March 22nd. The prosecution allege Field murdered her in a violent and sustained attack.

When her body was found at her Norfolk Street home, she had bruising to the head and a fractured thyroid cartlidge.

The defendant said he and Debra had had arguments in the past, but they were not violent.

He spoke of an incident on February 21st where he claimed Debra got angry and hit him on the side of the face with a clenched fist.

She was shouting and screaming and banging her head against a wall, so he grabbed her to calm her down and get her away from the wall, he said. He accepted having made contact with her face in the incident.

On the day of the violence at the flat, he said they had had a can together that morning and he had been making fun of her, “not in a malicious way, just winding her up”, he said. He suggested she reacted by throwing a glass against a wall, though not aiming at him.

They went on to have more to drink and went out to get 12 cans and a couple of bottles of cider. That afternoon, they bought some valium, which they both went on to take.

The defendant said a row occured, starting downstairs. “We were arguing face to face. She headbutted me on the side of the face,” he said.

He claimed Debra fell against a wall and was kicking out, trying to hit him.

“I grabbed a scarf she had on and I pulled it and tried to calm her down,” he said.

He then demonstrated how he pulled his hands away from each other, while holding the ends of the scarf. He said he did it in a quick motion and held it like that for a matter of seconds.

He said: “I really wanted to calm her down. I didn’t think I’d done it really, really hard. I just thought I’d use enough force to stop her from hitting me and calm her down.”

After that, he saw blood coming from her mouth. She got up and collapsed, banging her head hard on the toilet. He tried to pick her up and she fell again.

The defendant said he began to think she was dead. “I just couldn’t believe what had happened. I was really scared and shaking.” He added: “I was in shock and hysterical. It just seemed surreal.”

Debra’s body was found at the flat on March 21st. He was also arrested there.

His counsel, Mr Anthony Cross, asked him why he had not gone to the police. Field replied: “I was very scared and upset. It just didn’t seem real.”

He recalled having rung his mum, saying he had killed Debra by accident. Things had not seemed real when he was being interviewed by the police.

“I’m a placid person. I’m not someone who gets really annoyed,” he said. He said he had not intended to kill Debra.

The court had heard at the opening of the trial prosecution claims Field murdered Ms Walsh in a violent and sustained attack and had later admitted the killing to a friend and his mum.

Ms Walsh had earlier been seen with a bruised face and told her ex-husband Field had “battered” her.

Opening the case for the Crown, Mr Neil Flewitt said Field and Ms Walsh, a mother-of-one, had been in a relationship since last October which appeared to have been volatile and sometimes violent.

Debra was last seen on the afternoon of February 22nd, when she made a return visit to Pendle Council’s housing office. The day before, when she had made an earlier visit, it was noticed her face was badly bruised and swollen and she told a housing officer she had been mugged and all her money stolen.

That same day, she told her ex husband: “Look at what Carl’s done. He’s battered me”.

She spoke of Field having stolen her bank card and was concerned he would withdraw her benefits money which was paid into her account that day.

That day, a text message was sent to a mutual friend of Debra and Field, called Dan Sears, in which Debra said: “He has smashed my face in so I am going to the police because I have had enough.”

Police confirmed £110 was withdrawn from her account in two transactions on the same day. Further withdrawals of benefits money were made on later dates.

Mr Flewitt also told the court Mr Sears received a phone call or text from Field towards the end of February in which the defendant said: “I’ve done something stupid. I have killed Debra”.

The trial continues.