A 'horrendous, premeditated assassination of a totally innocent lady’, is how a senior police investigator described the murder of Sadie Hartley at the hands of two women from Chester.
Detective Superintendent Paul Withers said ruthless killers 34-year-old Sarah Williams, of Treborth Road in Blacon, and Katrina Walsh, 56, of Hare Lane in Guilden Sutton, not only took Sadie’s life but also left her family facing their own ‘life sentence’.
Speaking in a special documentary film about the murder investigation, produced by Lancashire Police, DS Withers said Sadie had lost her life ‘in the most horrendous circumstances that I can imagine’.
He described Sadie Hartley’s murder as a ‘frenzied attack’ and led her to suffer ‘absolutely appalling injuries’ and believes she ‘very quickly lost her fight for life’.
DS Withers said: “Katrina Walsh made reference in the diary to ‘I can’t believe what we’re doing’. But they had many, many months and years even for Katrina Walsh to say ‘no, this cannot happen’ or to report it to the local police, but they haven’t done.
“This is not a momentary lapse of control or loss of control, this is premeditated, this is planned, almost an assassination of a totally innocent lady.
“A lady in her 60s who has never done anything wrong in her life and loses her life in the most horrendous circumstances that I can imagine.
“Sarah Williams and Katrina Walsh are not the only people with a life sentence in respect of what happened because Charlotte, Harry, Garry, Ian Johnston and the siblings of Sadie I’m not sure will ever get over it.
“They have a very different life now. They have to try and get used to a new normality which is incredibly difficult for them.
“We will continue to work with them, they are wonderful people, a wonderful family, and we are committed as an organisation to make sure we give them as much support as we can.
“My concern is for the family of Sadie and Sadie herself really.
“I’m pleased as an organisation that we’ve managed to get justice for Sadie and for Sadie’s family.”
DS Withers said the officers in the case ‘worked tirelessly’ over many weeks to ‘assemble a picture, a jigsaw, of the life of Sadie and the life of Ian and also of Sarah Williams and Katrina Walsh’ to help build a ‘very good prosecution case’.
He told the documentary film how Walsh was an ‘avid writer’ and her diary entries were ‘very damning’ showing a ‘steely determination to get rid of Sadie Hartley’.
He said: “We recovered the DNA of Sadie Hartley on the bath of Sarah Williams. We also recovered a pair of spectacles of Sarah Williams from her Volvo.
“They were examined and had a very, very minute trace of blood on one of the lenses. Clearly that was a significant step for the investigation.
“We know that they travelled to Germany to buy a stun gun.
The stun gun was recovered and forensically examined and Sadie had some injuries to her cheek which clearly showed the stun gun had been used.
“We know Katrina Walsh enters the Tesco store and purchases a large carving knife which Sarah Williams subsequently uses.
"We managed to identify that they bought a car, a Renault Clio, in order to commit the offence. That was recovered and was heavily blood-stained and again the CCTV gave us some good prosecution evidence.
“Another significant find was at the home address of Katrina Walsh who is clearly an avid diary writer.
“The diary entries of Katrina Walsh were very damning. Both Williams and Walsh had planned this horrendous crime for over 18 months.
“They gave a very good picture of the thought process of these two people where she talks about killing Sadie Hartley.
“This really sums it up for me where she says ‘I have no moral qualms, just a serious don’t let us get caught twinge’.
“The diaries talk about plans they have about covering their tracks. They are discussing and planning murdering somebody. There is clearly a steely determination to get rid of Sadie Hartley.”