Bassetlaw murder trial: Widow claimed ‘murdered’ fiancé had returned to Scotland

A widow claimed her new fiancé had returned suddenly to Scotland when he was dead in a ditch in Everton, a murder trial heard.

By Guardian Reporter
Wednesday, 5th March 2014, 1:02 pm
Alan James Easton
Alan James Easton

Suspect Angela Dowling had been wearing a gold engagement ring given to her by Alan Easton, a family friend.

But only days after showing the ring to her daughter Sarah, 48-year-old Dowling said Mr Easton had returned to his home in Dumbarton.

In the trial, Sarah recalled the phone conversation and said: “She sounded strange, it was far too rehearsed.”

Mr Easton who was found buried in a ditch in February last year. He had knife wounds and had been battered.

Three people deny murder and are on trial at Nottingham Crown Court. They are Dowling of Windmill Avenue, Conisbrough; Matthew Duffy, 23, of Sussex Street, Balby and Mark Bingham, 49, of Fishponds Road West, Sheffield.

On Tuesday, the jury heard from Dowling’s 19-year-old daughter Sarah who gave evidence from behind a screen.

She visited on Boxing Day and her mother said she had just ended a four-year relationship with a man named Stephen Schofield.

Three days later, Miss Dowling’s father died and the funeral was held in the middle of January. When she saw her mother on 30th January, she got a lift in the back of her car.

“She said ‘have you noticed anything new and waved her left hand. She had a ring, a gold ring,” said Miss Dowling.

“I said ‘is that an engagement ring?’ She said yes, she was engaged to Alan.”

Mr Easton had arrived from Scotland, bringing two televisions with him.

Miss Dowling said she was unhappy about the new relationship and told the jury: “My dad had just died.”

Her mother knew of the daughter’s feelings but told her ‘she was happy, he’s happy, what does it matter to anyone else?’

But on 2nd February, she got a text message from her mother to say Mr Easton had returned to Scotland. It ended with the words ‘he not coming back.’

In a phone conversation, described by the daughter as ‘far too rehearsed,’ her mother said there had been punches thrown in the living room in a dispute with another man.

Mr Easton had been given ‘ten minutes to pack his bags’ before he was driven to Doncaster Railway Station. The mother said ‘he was pleading but I would not give him a chance.’

When asked about the two televisions, Dowling said she planned to keep them and made untrue allegations about Mr Easton if he complained to the police.

Miss Dowling told the jury she saw a press report of the discovery of a man’s body in a shallow grave. She recognised a village hall which was pictured as one she had passed when going to car boot sales with her parents.

The hearing was shown CCTV film of Mr Easton going into Mexborough Jobcentre on 23rd and 31st January. The last sighting of Mr Easton was at 3.11pm on 1st February in the job centre.

The trial continues.