Natalie Harker: Man laid in wait for ex-girlfriend before murder

Natalie Harker: Man laid in wait for ex-girlfriend before murder

A man laid in wait for his ex-girlfriend in a woodland tent before kidnapping and murdering her, a court heard.

Andrew Pearson knew Natalie Harker was “a creature of habit” and would pass his hideout on her way to work, Teesside Crown Court heard.

She was found dead in woods in Brough with St Giles, near Catterick, North Yorkshire, on 9 October 2019.

Mr Pearson, 45, from Catterick Garrison, denies murder and kidnap.

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Alistair MacDonald QC, prosecuting, said Ms Harker, 30, left her parents’ home in Colburn before dawn on 9 October to cycle to her work as a health centre cleaner.

Mr MacDonald said: “It’s the prosecution case that the defendant laid in wait for Natalie. He put his tent in a place she would pass on her bicycle, or nearby.

“He took advantage of the fact he knew perfectly well she was a creature of habit.”

The court heard a 999 call had been made about 12 hours after Ms Harker had been injured.

Mr Pearson, of Chestnut Court, said he had been camping for a few days to “chill out” and had gone for a walk with Ms Harker when she fell into a stream.

He dragged her out of the water, took her to his tent and stripped her and attempted to perform first aid, but then passed out, the court heard.

When he woke up several hours later he found her foaming at the mouth.

Mr MacDonald said: “He sought no help for Natalie for many, many hours and his story of having just passed out was simply not true.

“The injuries she suffered and her death were anything but natural.

“They were caused, we say, by this defendant who applied pressure to her neck and prevented her from raising her head and immersing it in water.”

Ms Harker had a relationship with Mr Pearson which ended in August 2018.

She died as a result of neck injuries and her nose and mouth had been under water, a pathologist said.

She also had bruising to her arms and wrists and there was no evidence of a brain injury consistent with her having fallen into the stream.

The trial continues.

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