Ex-husband told Marion Price he was "coming after her" when he was cleared of mallet attack, court hears

Week two of the Marion Price murder trial

By Sam Wildman
Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 7:00 am

A man accused of murdering his ex-wife told her he was "coming after her" when he was cleared of a mallet attack, a court heard yesterday (Monday).

As the trial over the shooting of Marion Price moved into its second week, two of the 63-year-old's former colleagues gave evidence after she spoke to them about her relationship with Michael Reader, who is accused of murdering her.

Marion was found dead in her car after she was shot in Packwood Crescent, Earls Barton, on December 15 last year. The prosecution allege 70-year-old Reader shot her and his 61-year-old friend Stephen Welch, who is also charged with murder, helped him track her movements beforehand and assisted him afterwards by disposing of his clothes in the River Nene.

Police at the scene last year. Credit: SWNS

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The jury at Northampton Crown Court was previously told that Reader was cleared of GBH in 2018 after he was accused of attacking Marion with a mallet when she refused to give him more money.

Yesterday Lindsey Gwynne, who worked with Marion for almost 15 years in the finance department at Wellingborough's Croyland Nursery School, told a jury Marion was petrified after Reader, of Booth Rise in Northampton, was found not guilty.

Prosecutor Mary Loram QC asked her: "Did she tell you of any concerns she had about Reader?"

Ms Gwynne replied: "Yes. She told me that when he got off he told her he was coming after her, her family and her grandchildren."

She added that Marion had asked colleagues not to say anything if anyone phoned her place of work and asked where she was.

Ms Gwynne, who described Marion as a "lovely woman", said doubts about her marriage to Reader were first raised just weeks after the pair wed in 2012.

Ms Loram asked her: "After they were married did she speak to you about the relationship?"

Ms Gwynne replied: "Yes. About four weeks later she was in the staff room crying with her head in her hands."

She added: "I asked her what was wrong."

Ms Loram said: "What did she tell you?"

Ms Gwynne replied: "She said she felt like she had made a mistake and she should not have married him.

"She was very upset and he was not who she thought he was."

After she left her husband Marion went to Reader's home to pick up some items.

Ms Gwynne told the jury Marion had told her that they argued about finances and that Reader had said "she owed him".

William Harbage QC, defending Reader, asked Ms Gwynne about how Marion would become defensive at work after making mistakes

He said: "She would blame other people for mistakes?"

Ms Gwynne replied: "Yes."

Mr Harbage said: "Unfairly blame other people for the mistakes?"

Ms Gwynne replied: "Yes."

Mr Harbage said: "Say it was their fault when it was not?"

Again, Ms Gwynne replied: "Yes."

Ms Loram asked Ms Barnett what Marion had told her about the encounter between her and Reader when she went to pick up some items from his house.

Ms Barnett said: "He said that he would do anything to make sure that she was left with no money."

The court heard Marion had planned to retire and had handed in her notice before retracting it in 2016 because she 'didn't want to become financially dependent on Reader'.

One day on her way to work she almost clipped a child in her car and broke down, becoming emotional and admitting to Ms Barnett that her head was all over the place.

Ms Loram asked: "Did she tell you what it was about her home life that was causing her to be this way?"

Ms Barnett replied: "She said he (Reader) was controlling, he belittled her, she said she was depressed and unhappy with him."

But she was left devastated by the not guilty verdict after the alleged mallet attack and fearful of her life, the court heard.

Ms Barnett said: "She thought he would come to work and attack her at work.

"She said on many occasions that she thought he would kill her."

Ms Barnett said: "It did, yes."

Mr Harbage also said: "You only really know what she told you."

Ms Barnett replied: "Yes."

The trial continues.