The mother of Lyndsey Vaux wept in court yesterday as she described her “family girl” leaving home to live in the Wigan house where she was found dying.
Anne Vaux, told a murder trial jury how she took charge of Lyndsey’s six-year-old granddaughter after the young mum fled in the summer of 2011 and “never came back”.
During week two of the trial over the 30-year-old single mother’s death, Lyndsey’s grieving mum was called to the stand to describe the changes she noticed during her daughter’s relationship with Becky Reid over the seven years before her death.
Mrs Vaux described her as a “family girl” who had “a lot of friends” before she met Reid, 32, who is accused of her murder alongside her mother Gillian Reid, 57.
Lyndsey’s mother sobbed as she told the jury that after her daughter left for good in August 2011, she gave her the option of coming back to look after her own daughter or sign over control to her, which Lyndsey eventually did in December of that year.
The court heard how Lyndsey’s daughter craved contact with her absent mum, but was disappointed on numerous occasions often leaving her “crying”.
“If her daughter used to see she was on Facebook she would message her,” explained Mrs Vaux. “But Lyndsey never replied. If she came on the phone, Lyndsey would hang up and go.”
She explained how Lyndsey gradually cut off contact with her family and friends.
It is the prosecution’s claim that Becky Reid exerted a powerful, abusive control over the alleged victim to the point that she was prepared to sever all family ties.
“I thought she wanted to cut us out,” said Mrs Vaux. “Not that I wanted to cut her out. She deleted all her friends. She had no contact with her siblings she was just gone.”
The jury was told how one weekend, at least a year after Lyndsey left the Stockport home, she and Becky Reid met Mrs Vaux at Manchester Piccadilly train station to pick Lyndsey’s daughter up for a weekend visit.
Mrs Vaux said that Lyndsey had changed so much that her own daughter ran past her on the train platform.
“When she left mine she was a big girl,” explained her fraught mother. “She was about 16 stone. I had seen her a few times I had seen it gradually come off but I noticed it more that day.
“She was scruffy and not my daughter. She was skinny. Her face was all thin. Her daughter didn’t even recognise her so that’s something isn’t it?”
The jury was then presented with a record of text messages between Mrs Vaux and her daughter, via a number she attributed to Becky Reid.
The messages, in which Lyndsey begged her mum for money, showed the frantic pleas that she would receive from her daughter asking for anywhere between £5 and £30 and the abuse she would get if she was not able to help.
“She said she had no footwear and was walking round with no shoes on,” said Mrs Vaux.
Becky Reid’s defence barrister suggested that this only happened on “a few occasions” at which Mrs Vaux laughed. “Every fortnight for three years is more than a few occasions,” she said.
Evidence given by Mrs Vaux also detailed how Becky Reid smashed Lyndsey’s young daughter’s piggy bank during a row at the Stockport home in 2011 after Reid saw phone calls from her ex-girlfriend on Lyndsey’s phone.
The court heard how the youngster had spent the day painting the piggy bank before Reid got angry during the row and threw it to the floor, smashing it. The row prompted Lyndsey’s little brother Shane to threaten to call the police.
Due to the arguments, Mrs Vaux had suggested that Lyndsey not take her daughter to live in Wigan with her and Reid and that she should “take it easy and see how things go” before the youngster moved across.
“I didn’t think she needed to see that” explained Mrs Vaux. “But Lyndsey was adamant she was going. It was a mutual decision between me and Lyndsey. At 25 you have to let them go if they want to go.”
Five years later, after Lyndsey “cut off contact” from her friends and her family, she would spend her last days at the Reid home on Sydney Street.
The court heard about the fateful day, and how Mrs Vaux found out about her daughter’s death after receiving a text message from Becky Reid which simply said: “Answer the phone your Lyndsey is dead.”
The grieving mother was questioned about this by Mr Csoka QC, who suggested that the text did not say this, and that she had “remembered it wrong”- but Mrs Vaux was defiant.