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Woman breaks down in tears as she discovers her boyfriend has died while appearing at COURT

Mirror logo Mirror 5 days ago Liz Day

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc A woman only discovered her boyfriend had died when a prosecutor revealed the tragic news as she appeared in court.

Linda Clarke and her partner, Paul Lewis, were due to be sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court in Wales today, WalesOnline reports.

The pair had terrorised a stroke patient in his new flat after he had invited them around in a bid to get to know his neighbours.

The court heard how Clarke encouraged her boyfriend to beat up their neighbour, Alan Tucker, 57, before hitting him herself.

The defendant, who is at HM Prison Swansea, burst into tears as she heard that her boyfriend and co-defendant had died on March 1.

She was appearing via videolink from the prison when prosecutor David Pugh told the court that Lewis had passed away earlier this month.

She was comforted by prison officers as Recorder Paul Lewis QC said: “She is clearly not in a position to follow proceedings.”

He adjourned the hearing until defence barrister Eugene Egan confirmed his client had asked for the hearing to go ahead in her absence.

Recorder Lewis noted the defendant was “understandably very distraught” and “clearly distressed”.

He added: “It is regrettable she discovered the sad fact of Mr Lewis’s death in the manner she did.”

The court heard how Clarke encouraged Lewis to beat up Mr Tucker before striking him herself as he tried to stop her stealing food from his kitchen.

The judge was told how Clarke hit the victim in the face as he tried to prevent her leaving his flat with a bag of stolen items.

Prosecutor Mr Pugh told the court the 32-year-old shouted to her boyfriend: “Go on, hit him again.”

Mr Pugh said the incident occurred in Brynmawr on January 17.

The court heard Mr Tucker invited the couple into his flat as he had recently moved to the area.

Prosecutors said Clarke spent some time in Mr Tucker’s flat drinking on his sofa.

The couple returned to his flat later that day with Lewis shouting a number of allegations.

Prosecutors said Mr Tucker tried to explain he had not done anything wrong but heard Clarke say: “Lay him out Paul.”

Mr Pugh said: “Mr Lewis punched him to the face causing him to stagger back and collapse on the carpet.”

The court heard Clarke and Lewis both walked into their neighbour’s flat with Clarke shouting: “Go on, hit him again. Finish him off.”

Mr Pugh said: “She crouched down and tried to pull his hair.”

He told the court Mr Tucker warned the pair he would call the police but Clarke shouted “get the phone” and Lewis ran out with it.

The court heard the complainant managed to “stagger” to his feet and follow Lewis, leaving Clarke inside.

Prosecutors said Mr Tucker did not manage to get his phone back and when he returned to the flat found Clarke with a bag full of items from his kitchen cupboard.

Mr Pugh told the court: “He took the plastic bag off her and she struck him once to the face.”

The court heard the complainant tried to walk to the police station but collapsed in the road with his nose bleeding.

He was helped by two passing police officers.

Prosecutors said a police officer took him home where he discovered his spare keys were missing.

Mr Pugh said Mr Tucker – a stroke patient who had mobility problems – was “very shaken”.

In a victim impact statement, he said he was scared to leave his door unlocked.

He added: “I feel like a rabbit in headlights. I used to be an outgoing person but this has affected my confidence.”

Clarke was arrested and told police she had been in her neighbour’s flat because she was a “caring person” and was helping to put his shopping away.

The court heard Clarke had been before the courts 18 times for 44 offences, including drunk and disorderly behaviour, resisting police officers and shoplifting.

Clarke, from Brynmawr, admitted theft and assault. Lewis, 52, who faced the same charges, died on March 1.

Mr Egan acknowledged his client had a “drink problem” and asked for a “more productive sentencing option” than immediate custody.

But the judge replied: “Time after time after time she has breached community orders and failed to take advantage of them.”

Noting her “appalling record”, Recorder Lewis jailed Clarke for 32 weeks and imposed a five-year restraining order.

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