Woman who killed her neighbour with a spade because she was making it difficult to sell her house ‘had WhatsApped police officer friend to say she would “smash her head in”‘
- Debby Foxwell, 40, struck Louise Lotz, 64, over the head several times on Aug 24
- St Albans Crown Court heard the pair had argued for a number of years But after
- Ms Lotz snatched Foxwell’s phone, she killed her in Welwyn Garden City
- Pleaded guilty to diminished responsibility manslaughter, not guilty to murder
A woman who killed her neighbour with a spade because she was making it impossible to sell her house WhatsApped a police officer saying she was going to ‘smash her head in’, a court heard today.
Debby Foxwell, 40, was involved in a long, bitter dispute with her untidy, hoarding next-door-neighbour Louise Lotz, 64.
Foxwell believed the state of the former councillor’s home was the reason that she could not sell her own well-kept end of terrace house in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, St Albans Crown Court heard.
The jury was told there had been bad feeling between the two for years, but on the evening of August 24 last year, Foxwell grabbed a spade from her garden shed and struck her multiple times with it.
That night, she had messaged PC Tim Hobman asking: ‘When will it stop? When I have smashed her head in – that’s when.’
Foxwell has pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility but denies murder.
Debby Foxwell, 40, (mugshot left) was involved in a long, bitter dispute with her untidy, hoarding next-door-neighbour Louise Lotz, 64 (right)
In a statement read to the jury today, PC Tim Hobman said on the night of Saturday August 24 Foxwell had first sent him a WhatsApp message in which she said Louise had called the police in a dispute over their boundaries.
He responded with a ‘rolling eyes’ emoji. He received another message from her, which he opened at around 10.30pm.
It read: ‘When will it stop? When I have smashed her head in – that’s when.’
PC Hobman said even if he had read it earlier it would not have occurred to him that it was a genuine threat.
Foxwell (home pictured left) lived next-door to Ms Lotz (house pictured right) on a tree-lined street in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
He said he had been best friends with Debby’s husband Paul, who died from cancer on 21 June 2016, and he knew both women.
The jury was told that Louise Lotz (pictured), an obsessive hoarder, lived next to Debbie Foxwell in the Hertfordshire town for around five years, but the pair did not get on
The officer described Louise as a ‘typical nosy neighbour.’ He went on: ‘She was not hostile. She would ask ‘Can I help you?’ and ‘Why are you visiting?’
He said: ‘Debby could fly off the handle at the slightest thing. I told Paul he should consider leaving her. Paul clearly loved her and she was not like that all the time. I promised Paul I would look out for her.’
After Ms Lotz snatched her mobile phone, Foxwell stormed into her house and used a garden spade to smash a television and a laptop.
Ms Lotz, who was calling the police, had been hiding but ran outside to another neighbour’s home, shouting: ‘Help me, help me!’
Foxwell followed her and attacked her with the spade, causing catastrophic head injuries, the court was told.
Prosecutor Alan Blake said: ‘The sustained ferocity of the attack and the number of blows make it plain she intended to kill her and she succeed in doing so.’
She returned home, telling her partner: ‘It’s over. I have done it.’
The case continues.
Pictured: The well-kept terrace where Foxwell and Ms Lotz lived in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire