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Friends and family of Sadie Hartley pay tribute to 'truly inspirational lady'

Loved ones share their memories of the businesswoman, as Chester pair are convicted of her murder

Murder victim Sadie Hartley(Image: Lancashire Constabulary/PA Wire)

The loved ones of murdered mum Sadie Hartley have paid tribute to the 'lovely, trustworthy, kind, loving woman', and told of how they have coped with their loss.

A jury found Chester pair Sarah Williams and Katrina Walsh guilty of murdering the 60-year-old mother-of-two at her home in Helmshore, Rossendale, in January.

She was paralysed with a 500,000-volt stun gun after answering the door then knifed 40 times in an attack branded an ‘orgy of violence’ carried out with ‘demonic savagery’.

Sadie Hartley murder: Chester 'bunny boiler' love rival and twisted pal GUILTY of brutal stun gun and knife killing

Sarah Williams, 35, of Treborth Road in Blacon, Chester, carried out the vicious murder in January.

The ski holiday rep, who worked at the Chill Factore ski centre, wanted to rekindle her relationship with Ms Hartley’s partner Ian Johnston, 57, after they had an affair.

Williams’ friend, horse rider Katrina ‘Kit’ Walsh, 57, of Hare Lane, Guilden Sutton, was accused of assisting Williams in a murder plot hatched 17 months beforehand.

As the trial at Preston Crown Court ended, Sadie's daughter, brother and best friend have spoken about the ordeal.

Sadie's daughter: 'We have coped by just all sticking together as a family'

The daughter of murder victim Sadie Hartley has spoken of the heartbreaking moment she was given the devastating news - only three days after getting engaged.

Charlotte Hartley had travelled to Hawaii with her boyfriend and future parents-in-law when police contacted her to say her mum have been savagely murdered.

The 23-year-old said she went from ‘an incredible high to an incredible low’ and can’t imagine life without her ‘perfect’ mum.

Watch how police pieced together Chester killers' 'premeditated assassination' of Sadie Hartley

She said: “I was in Hawaii on the holiday of a lifetime with my partner and his parents.

“We had been away for about 10 days when I got the phone call and I was in my hotel room. It was about 4am.

“It was one of the family liaison officers who called and it was my partner who heard the news to start with. He really struggled to tell me so I had to speak to the officer on the phone.

“You don’t know almost what to say. I couldn’t believe it.

“I had just got engaged about three days before I got the phone call. So I was from an incredible high to an incredible low.

“It was just indescribable. You never think it will happen to you.

“At that moment in time all you want to do is be back home, but I knew she wasn’t going to be there when I got back any way.”

Charlotte, who lives in Staffordshire, said the ordeal of the trial has been ‘very tough’ for herself and her family and that no prison sentence will be enough.

She said: “It’s very tough to listen to. I’m the sort of person who needs to hear the facts so I know and I don’t question myself.

“Obviously it’s been difficult but all you want is for it to almost be over so so we can all start grieving as a family without having our lives all over the world and having to go to a court every single day and to hear this which should never have happened.

The dark friendship of the two Chester women who murdered Sadie Hartley

“I think we all cope very differently. Everybody is different.

“But we have coped by just all sticking together as a family. We are all very close anyway and just being a unit together gets us through and things some people might struggle on the others are picking us up.

“(My fiancé) has been brilliant. He’s been looking after me. Obviously he was like a son to my mum as well. She loved him so much so obviously he’s struggling to grieve while looking after me as well but he’s been fantastic.

“They (Williams and Walsh) might get life but what’s prison when you haven’t got a mum and you’re out of prison? Nothing will make that feel better.”

Charlotte, who is now having to plan her wedding without the support of her mother, wants Sadie to be remembered as a ‘lovely, trustworthy, kind, loving woman’.

She said: “She was definitely looking to retire and spend more time with myself and my brother.

“She obviously wanted to horse ride more and she was saying for many years that she wanted to retire and go on more holidays, enjoy family, and wait for me to have a family and plan a wedding together. That’s all been taken away from her.

“I would like her to be remembered for just the inspiration that she was to many people.

“She just literally lit up a room. She was just perfect. There was nothing bad about her that anybody could say.

“She was just a lovely, trustworthy, kind , loving woman and just cared about everybody.”

Sadie's brother: I feel nothing for her killers

Sadie Hartley’s older brother said his sister never hurt anyone and she did not deserve to die in such a senseless way.

Graham Cook said said he was left ‘shocked and stunned’ after being told of his sister’s murder while at the cinema and ‘broke down totally uncontrollably’.

He said he feels nothing for her killers, adding that Sadie was a ‘warm, loving, caring and unassuming woman’ who ‘never did any harm to anybody’ and that everyone is struggling to come to terms with the ‘senseless’ murder.

Mr Cook added: “We found out what happened to Sadie when we were just about to see a film at the cinema. We got a telephone call on the mobile phone which went to my wife and it was obviously something very distressful.

“Eventually I found out Sadie had been killed and it was a suspected murder. At the time we were just both totally shocked and stunned by that news.

Interview with Graham:

“I think for about two hours we were just totally blank. Somehow we managed to get home in the car, hardly saying a word to each other on the way back, and when we got home we sat down and still tried to take it all in.

"I presume we were still in some form of shock.

“It was about three hours later that we just broke down totally uncontrollably. To be honest I sobbed for a long time.

“When we first heard about it I think we were shocked, dazed, stunned, numbed by the news and we just couldn’t take in the enormity of it all.”

Graham, who lives in Kent, said the murder trial has been ‘emotionally very draining and very upsetting’ and they are now looking to move on as a family.

He said: “It’s been very, very difficult. And what I’ve said to a lot of people is it’s a trial, and trial is the right word.

“It’s not just a trial of the two accused, it’s a trial of all the family and friends and even the jurors who have to listen to all of that.

“For some of the evidence I’ve had to leave to court because I didn’t want to hear it really.

“It’s been very draining and very upsetting at times. All those days have been really hard.

“It seems like a lifetime although it’s only a few weeks. It’s been emotionally very draining.

“We are going to strive to maintain, strengthen and reinforce our family ties, particularly with Harry and Charlotte (Sadie’s two children).

“Charlotte is going to be getting married soon and her mum won’t be there. Charlotte will eventually have children and her mum won’t be there.

“Christmases and birthdays we will be thinking of Sadie. Anniversaries and all those times we will be thinking about Sadie.

“We will try and make sure we support Harry and Charlotte as best we can.

“It’s a really traumatic thing for them to lose their mother, but to lose their mother in that way is just absolutely devastating for them.

“I have no messages for Sarah Williams or Katrina Walsh and I have no feelings towards those two whatsoever. I feel nothing towards either of them.

“Our thoughts are with Sadie and we want to remember the fantastic woman that she was, have all good memories and think about all the good times we spent together.

“That’s our focus in life and what that’s we have got to do once this trial is over. We need to try and move on and thinking of Sadie as we go through the rest of our lives.”

Graham, 63, said he wants his sister to be remember as a ‘fun-loving person who enjoyed life to the full’.

He said: “Sadie was a warm, loving, caring and unassuming woman.

“She was always respectful and considerate of others. Sadie was fun to be with, had a good sense of humour and always saw the funny side of life.

“Sadie was an intelligent, hard-working woman who made things happen.

“Sadie enjoyed life to the full and she loved being active, particularly through her love of horses.

“She never did any harm to anybody, got on with her life and actually did a lot of good for people, particularly through her business as well."

Sadie's best friend: Death has had a devastating impact

Sadie Hartley’s best friend Julie Taylor has spoken of the ‘devastating’ impact the death has had on herself and her colleagues.

Mum-of-two Sadie was co-director of Hartley Taylor Medical Communications in Knutsford, Cheshire, and worked for more than 35 years in the pharmaceutical industry.

Business partner Julie said Sadie was a ‘truly inspirational lady’ and her death sent shockwaves through the company.

She said: “It was just devastating. We are a small team. We started Hartley Taylor 16 years ago and the people that work for us, a lot of them have worked with us for 10-plus years.

“My daughter-in-law works for us, Sadie’s best riding friend who was quite high up in Hewlett Packard works for us, the whole team are hand picked.

“They are more than colleagues, they are friends, family, so you could imagine the effect on a small team.

Interview with Julie:

“Everybody just loved Sadie at work. We regularly went out as a team but went out as friends, we go away together, it is that intertwined life really of work and our colleagues.

“We were all massively affected in the first month. I don’t think anybody could appreciate the police presence we had for the first month.

“It felt like a daily occurrence into the office, supporting us through the whole situation. Most were interviewed, most had to give statements, it was a massive undertaking really to carry on with the business at the same time.”

Julie, who lives in Cheshire, said she had been best friends with Sadie for 23 years and found it ‘hugely difficult’ to come to terms with her death.

She said: “We met through work, we shared a passion for work, and following on from that Sadie and I started socialising.

“Our lives over the last 23 years have progressed to being best friends, being sisters, Sadie’s family and my family would holiday together.

“We really could spend the whole week together. We got each other, she understood me and I understood her.

“It was a unique relationship, almost like life partners with the friendship, the sisterhood, everything that went with it.

“I don’t think I’ve fully dealt with it (her death) yet. I’ve had to be strong, I’ve had good support from my own family and from Sadie’s family as well.

“It’s a hugely difficult one because I felt like I was in a central role trying to keep the whole team together and the family together.

“Her children Harry and Charlotte, I’ve known them from being young and they know me well so it was very important to spend as much time with them as possible.

“At weekends we would try to do things. My family, Harry and Charlotte, going to Chester Zoo. We tried to arrange things to slightly take our minds off it, but personally very difficult indeed. It’s taken up all your waking space and your sleeping space.”

Julie said Sadie was a ‘very driven lady’ with a desire to make the world a ‘better place’ and that her death is a ‘very sad loss’.

She said: “Sadie was just lovely. A really warm, very caring woman, incredibly generous with her time.

“Anybody that came into contact with her just gravitated to Sadie. She was a good mentor and an incredibly nice woman. Just wonderful.

“We have used the word before inspirational but Sadie really was.

“It was aspects of her life. It wasn’t just work, it was with family and friends. I know so many friends that looked up to Sadie, what she achieved in her life.

“Genuinely I don’t know anybody that didn’t like her.

“Sadie made every day count, more so than most, more so than me. She would never have a time where she would probably just sit on the sofa watching the television.

“She had many activities that she liked to pursue and she really did make every day count.

“She did the coast-to-coast in America. People said ‘how was your holiday?’ It was no holiday, it was an expedition. There was eight people hand-picked. Greg Dyke being one of them from the BBC.

“That was the type of person Sadie was. Anything she did she had to do to a high level and enjoyed doing it.

“I would like her to be remembered as someone who people gravitated to, got a lot of enjoyment from being with, and a truly inspirational lady and it’s a very, very sad loss.

“She was much-loved by everybody who came into contact with her."

 

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