The chilling CCTV footage presented during the trial reveals a shocking tale of a couple accused of embarking on an extravagant £13,000 shopping spree using the bank card of an elderly pensioner, Susan Hawkey, whom they are alleged to have murdered in her own home.
The lifeless body of Susan Hawkey, 71, was discovered, bound and concealed under a duvet, in her Neasden flat in northwest London on September 26 of the previous year.
The Accused: A Disturbing Allegation
Pregnant Chelsea Grant, 28, and her boyfriend, Xyaire Howard, 23, stand accused of the heinous crime of strangling Mrs. Hawkey to death after reportedly coercing her into revealing her PIN number.
The couple is alleged to have initially targeted Ms. Hawkey in a series of street robberies before gaining access to her residence with her stolen house keys.
The Spending Spree: Lavish Expenses on Stolen Money
The accused pair are believed to have lavishly spent £13,000 of the deceased’s money in a spree that was captured on various CCTV clips.
Their spending escapade took them to Poundland, TK Maxx, Primark, and Sports Direct.
The fragrance department of John Lewis at Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush became another destination, where they purchased perfumes valued at £241.
Their shopping spree also included a significant expenditure of £180 on clothing at Timberland.
Visits to H&M, Clarks, and Adidas stores at Westfield were part of their consumption frenzy, with the stolen bank card being used for transportation, fast food, and cash withdrawals at a convenience store ATM.
Prosecution’s Allegations: Violence and Greed
Prosecutor Annabel Darlow argued that Ms. Hawkey was compelled to divulge her PIN number under severe duress.
Darlow stated, “It was only, we suggest, if she was the victim of considerable violence and aggression that she would have handed over her PIN.”
She went on to highlight the extent of the violence inflicted upon Ms. Hawkey, including the tightening of a ligature around her neck with sufficient force to break one of her neck bones.
The prosecution asserts that the murder was a result of sheer greed and self-interest on the part of the accused couple, who aimed to silence Ms. Hawkey and freely access her funds.
The Unraveling Financial Trail: A Startling Depletion
Over the course of merely three weeks, Howard and Grant exhausted approximately £13,000 of Ms. Hawkey’s funds, depleting her bank balance from slightly over £16,000 to a mere £3,000.
The bank card was used for a staggering 146 transactions during this period.
The CCTV Evidence: A Disturbing Shopping Record
The Old Bailey jury was presented with compelling CCTV evidence showing Howard and Grant making purchases at various locations, including Tesco in Wembley, Puma in Wembley Park, Claire’s Accessories in Wembley Park, and the Arena Mini Mart in Empire Way, Wembley.
Their spending spree included significant expenditures on sunglasses and watches at London Time in Westfield Shopping Centre.
An Arrest and Disturbing Online Activity
As they continued to deplete Ms. Hawkey’s account, Howard was arrested while attempting to ascertain the timing of her next pension payment.
Meanwhile, Grant’s online searches raised further suspicions, as she inquired about how to mask the smell of a corpse, leading to unsettling questions such as ‘can you smell a dead body from outside the house’ and ‘is a dead body a very strong smell.’
Denials and Ongoing Trial
Both Grant and Howard, residents of Neasden, have denied the murder charges.
Grant denies three counts of robbery, while Howard has denied two and admitted to one.
The trial is ongoing, shedding light on the horrifying sequence of events and alleged crimes committed by the accused couple.
A Tragic Tale of Allegations and Evidence
The trial of Chelsea Grant and Xyaire Howard unfolds as a harrowing story of alleged murder, robbery, and a lavish spending spree financed by the victim’s stolen money.
The shocking CCTV footage and compelling evidence presented in court paint a disturbing picture of the events leading up to and following Susan Hawkey’s tragic demise.
As the trial continues, the quest for justice and a clearer understanding of these grievous allegations remains at the forefront.