Simon Everitt murder trial latest

PUBLISHED: 09:48 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 July 2010

The woman accused of acting as the driver in the Simon Everitt murder case claimed she was “tortured and threatened” by her co-defendants, a court heard yesterday.

The woman accused of acting as the driver in the Simon Everitt murder case claimed she was “tortured and threatened” by her co-defendants, a court heard yesterday.

Maria Chandler is alleged to have driven the car which 17-year-old Mr Everitt was bundled into before being transported to Mautby woods - a site outside Yarmouth where he is said to have been burnt alive.

In a statement given to police, 40-year-old Chandler originally denied any involvement in the killing.

Jurors have already heard that Chandler's defence is based on a later interview she gave to police, in which she claims she was forced to go along with the plan and did not know exactly what the men planned to do to Mr Everitt.

In this statement she claimed she kept quiet because she was scared as she had been “tortured and threatened”.

She added: “Munch said he had killed five other people, Simon would be the sixth. He said he had never killed a woman but I would be the first.”

After the crime, Chandler claimed she was told Clarke would “bury me after he let my daughter see what he had done” if she spoke to the police.

In earlier interviews she denied using her car on June 8, the day Mr Everitt went missing, but she was later caught by CCTV at a garage in the vehicle with fellow defendants Jimi-Lee Stewart and Jonathan “Munch” Clarke.

The body of engineering student Mr Everitt was found in a swamp near Mautby woods in June last year. He had been beaten, tied to a tree, covered in petrol and set alight. The discovery followed a high-profile search for the teenager who had been living in Yarmouth.

In her original interview, Chandler was asked a long series of questions about the murder, including: Have you ever had Simon Everitt in the boot of your car? Was he in your car on that night? Were you aware that somebody else put him in the boot of your car? Did you lend your car to somebody else? Did anybody ask if they could borrow your car? Did you know he had petrol poured on him? Did you know that Munch threw a match? Do you know where he was buried?

To each question she answered simply “No”.

Asked whether either of the men could force her to do anything, she answered: “I'm my own person at the end of the day. I'm strong enough to say no and no means no.”

Chandler, of Lancaster Road, Yarmouth, Clarke, 19, from Telford, and Stewart, 25, of Nelson Road, Central, Yarmouth, all deny murder.

The case continues.

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