Mother’s murder trial told of internet messages

A POLICE officer told a jury yesterday she and other friends and family became increasingly worried about a mother of two after unusual messages appeared on her Facebook weeks after her fiance said she had left him.

Unaware at that time that music teacher Andrew Lindo had killed Marie Stewart and put her body in a bag in his garage, they had believed earlier messages and texts from her were genuine.

Hollie Carter, a friend since childhood, told Bradford Crown Court she thought it extremely strange that Miss Stewart had left her home and children leading up to Christmas last year as she considered she was part of a “perfect little family”.

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She and others sent her supportive text messages and over the days received replies.

But after returning from a holiday she was informed by Miss Stewart’s sister Katie in early February that Lindo was still the only person who claimed to have physically spoken to her since she left. He had suggested she might be with another man in the Canary Islands.

She told the court she then saw some entries on Miss Stewart’s Facebook page which were “very bizarre and concerning”.

One referred to her having done a bungee jump in a way which she would not say, another was that she had been really drunk and had a hangover.

Mrs Carter said her friend would enjoy a drink but getting drunk was not normally something she would do, while a third referred to her having a “room with a view” adding she could not wait for her daughter to see it.

“That was really the final thing that something was definitely wrong.”

She told Michelle Colborne QC, prosecuting, that following further contact with the Stewart family she subsequently spoke to her supervisor and the police were involved.

The jury has heard Miss Stewart’s body was then discovered on February 13, at the couple’s home in Perseverance Place, Holmfirth, she had been strangled, battered and stabbed.

Lindo, 29, denies murdering her but has admitted manslaughter. He claims he lost self control fearing she had mistreated their daughter.

The prosecution alleges he was leading a double life seeing another woman and planning a future with her.

After the killing he used Miss Stewart’s Facebook profile and phone texts to convince others she had abandoned him and the children.

Mrs Carter told the jury she and Miss Stewart had grown up as friends and stayed so when she studied social care at Huddersfield University.

While there Miss Stewart met Martin Waldron whom she married in 2005 and seemed very much in love with him.

But within a year she had an affair with Lindo, a friend of Mr Waldron and ended her marriage for him. “It was an extreme shock to myself to everybody,” said Mrs Carter.

They moved in together and when their daughter was born in 2007 both her friend and Lindo appeared very happy.

When their son was born in January last year Miss Stewart described being tired because the baby was not sleeping at night but was a “normal loving mum.”

She said Miss Stewart was reserved and quite private about her life but things seemed fine between her and Lindo at their son’s christening in October.

Mrs Carter said in December she became aware that her friend had apparently left home and sent her texts receiving a reply she was okay. Marie also wished her happy birthday on Christmas Eve saying she was staying with a friend in Withernsea.

The trial continues.