A FUGITIVE rapist murdered a guesthouse landlady at a Yorkshire seaside resort before locking her body in a bedroom, a court heard.
John Heald was being hunted by police at the time of Bei Carter’s death in Bridlington after another woman in South Yorkshire reported he had raped her at knifepoint, Hull Crown Court was told.
When the 53-year-old was finally arrested a week later, a search of his hiding place in a wood in Rotherham revealed a “saw” knife partially buried in the ground, which the prosecution claims could have been the murder weapon.
Graham Reeds QC prosecuting, said “slightly-built” Mrs Carter, 49, was stabbed once in the chest at the Morayland Hotel on Marshall Avenue with such force that the 18cm blade went through her breastbone and severed her aorta. Shoe marks found on her face suggested she had been stamped on.
Mr Reeds told the jury: “The degree of internal injury or bleeding caused by that injury meant Bei Carter died where the defendant left her.
“He pulled her into one of the bedrooms of the guesthouse and instead of getting help he locked the door on her using her keys and then left the guesthouse as quickly as he could.”
Heald, who denies murder and three counts of rape, was spotted on CCTV boarding a train for Beverley at 10.36pm on July 18.
The jury was told that minutes later he texted a friend to say that he had “ended up stabbing a...woman” who had got in his way during a fight at the guesthouse.
Mrs Carter’s body was found by her husband, Terry, when he became worried at about 11pm and unlocked the bedroom door.
The court heard that Heald had admitted killing Mrs Carter but said it was an accident.
He claimed some men had heard about the rape accusations on Facebook and found out he was staying at the hotel.
He was drunk and in a panic about them coming to the door and was preparing to leave, knife in hand, when Mrs Carter tapped on his shoulder.
Mr Reeds said Heald claimed he had accidentally stabbed her. “In the process of pulling and tugging the knife entered the landlady and she fell to the ground. In panic he accidentally trod on her face,” the prosecutor said.
“The prosecution says these are obvious lies and they are told by him in an attempt to explain away the evidence against him.”
He said none of what Heald said explained the severe force needed to inflict the chest wound, or the marks made by shoes, and associated bruising and fracturing of the bone in her throat.
The court was told that Heald raped a woman he knew on July 13 at knifepoint in an ordeal that lasted several hours.
At one stage she was gagged with gaffer tape, but she tore it off because she could not breathe. When Heald finally fell asleep his distraught victim – who had facial injuries making it painful for her to open her mouth – went straight to the police.
Heald told police they had sex but it was consensual.
The case continues.