Lyndsey Vaux murder trial: 'Victim of abuse' died with 90 injuries
A controlling bully beat her lesbian lover so badly she died with 90 separate injuries following months of abuse, a court has heard.
Becky Reid, 32, regularly battered mother-of-one Lyndsey Vaux, 30, leaving her “looking like the elephant man” with her whole head so badly swollen, Manchester Crown Court was told on Tuesday.
Reid along with her mother, Gillian Reid, 57, are both jointly charged with the murder of Miss Vaux and grievous bodily harm on another woman, Samantha Newns - a previous partner of Becky Reid.
Paul Reid QC, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury of six women and six men yesterday: “The prosecution case is that each of Becky Reid’s two partners was subject to years of controlling, abusive, cruel and violent behaviour at the hands of Becky Reid.”
The court heard how Becky Reid, who is also charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to her ex-partner Samantha Newns along with her mother, subjected her victims to “years of controlling, abusive, cruel and violent behaviour”.
Lyndsey’s autopsy, carried out by Dr Philip Lumb, showed 90 external injuries as well as multiple fractured ribs and severe injuries to both legs, which were believed to have been caused by “repeated episodes of beating”.
The jury heard how Reid allegedly forced her late girlfriend to “go out begging” for money and would refuse to let her in if she came back empty-handed. Mr Reid outlined evidence set to be given later in the trial by eyewitnesses who often saw Lyndsey with “bruises to her face” and struggling to walk.
She was once described as “looking like the Elephant Man” by a friend who saw her soon after one of the alleged beatings while another friend said she looked as if she had been “hit by a bus”.
Witnesses described occasionally seeing the “gaunt” mother-of-one wandering up and down in the alleyway at the back of the houses in her dressing gown after being sent out of the house by her partner.
Mr Reid said: “She would often be seen walking around the streets without shoes or appropriate clothing, sometimes in flip-flops and T-shirt in the pouring rain. She would appear to be trying to get back into the house, and it would seem that somebody within was refusing her entry.”
The court was told how Lyndsey was 16 stone when she first met Reid but her weight had plummeted to just half of this by the time of her death- causing her to look malnourished and spark speculation that she was a drug user.
Mr Reid added: “The manageress at the local One Stop shop, saw Lyndsey on the store CCTV climbing into the large bins at the back of the store, removing food that had been discarded owing to it being past the sell-by date.
"She also saw her in the early hours one morning on her hands and knees collecting cigarette stumps from outside the shop.”
Michelle Gartland, who gave a statement to police following Lyndsey’s death, explained how she once saw Reid stamp on her girlfriend’s face using her “whole body weight”.
During the prosecution’s statement, Mr Reid told the jury that Gillian Reid, Becky’s mum, had joined in some of the beatings on both Lyndsey and Becky’s former partner Ms Newns.
The court heard how Mrs Reid allegedly told one of Lyndsey’s friends, Paige Falla, that the pair had been “trying to get rid of Lyndsey for six years”.
Despite numerous warnings from friends and family that the two Reid women would end up “killing her”, the prosecution said that Lyndsey, like many victims of domestic violence, would make excuses for her partner and always go back.
In the hours before her death, a number of Platt Bridge residents reported seeing disturbing scenes including one man Kevin O’Leary who recalled seeing Lyndsey on May 21 between 10,10pm and 11pm with blood “all around her mouth” standing bare-footed despite being on gravel.
Later that night, another neighbour said he saw Lyndsey lying outside on the road in front of his car. The prosecution’s statement reported: “Mark Hoppley (the witness) then checked outside at regular intervals, noticing each time that Lyndsey had moved slightly towards her own house but was still on the ground.
“Then he heard a dragging noise and on looking out again saw her legs being dragged along the floor towards her house. He could not tell whether she was dragging herself or being dragged by another person. The door to number 23 (Sydney Street) then slammed shut”.
At 5.23am, just before the call was made by Mrs Reid to the paramedics, Sarah Fallows, a close neighbour had been woken by excessive banging followed by a scream.
Another neighbour, Robert Atherton, reported being awaken at around 4am on the day of Lyndsey’s untimely death by the sound of Ms Reid’s voice “shouting and ordering Lyndsey back to the house”.
Some time later Mr Atherton heard sirens and looked out of his window where he saw an ambulance arriving at number 23, followed by Becky screaming.
The eye-witness described Mrs Reid who he saw sat on the settee inside the house. The prosecution then told the jury: “He saw Lyndsey being brought out of the house on a stretcher with a tube in her mouth and then saw Gillian appearing to be laughing when she came out of the house.”
Despite paramedics best efforts, Lyndsey passed away an hour later at 6.27am.
Following Ms Vaux's death, police began to investigate alleged incidents committed by the Reids against Samantha Newns, who was in a relationship with Becky Reid from September 2004 until June 2008 after meeting through an online chat room.
The court heard that Becky Reid assaulted her lover ‘about 50 times’ during the course of the relationship,
They moved in together at a flat in Cherry Tree Court, Salford, and Becky Reid became increasingly violent and controlling, the court heard.
Becky Reid would allegedly force Ms Newns, now 37, to beg for money from her friends and family otherwise she would be beaten up.
The couple later moved into a house in Stanley Place, Wigan, alongside Gillian Reid and her mother, where the final beating occurred and caused Ms Newns to leave Becky Reid.
In June 2008, Becky Reid allegedly punched Ms Newns in the nose causing her to bleed, before punching, kicking and stamping on her for about five to ten minutes.
When Ms Newns asked Gillian Reid to ‘sort her daughter out’, Gillian Reid allegedly punched her in the mouth, splitting her lip and knocking out her front tooth.
The assault stopped after Becky Reid’s sister and her partner arrived, who said ‘What have you done to her? She’s stopped breathing’.
Following the incident both Ms Newns’ mother and sister said they did not recognise her due to the injuries she sustained.
Ms Newns was left ‘terrified’ and decided that ‘enough was enough’, the court heard.
The court was also told that Becky Reid continued to call members of Ms Newns’ family following their split, and in 2011 threatened to tie her up.
Mr Reid added: “It is the prosecution case that Samantha Newns was lucky in that she managed to extricate herself from her abusive and destructive relationship with Becky Reid before she suffered the same fate as Lyndsey Vaux.