Jury told of landlady’s last hours

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The huSBAND of guesthouse landlady Bei Carter has described the moment he found her body in a locked bedroom and realised his “perfect” wife was dead.

Terry Carter, who ran the Morayland Hotel, in Bridlington, with his wife found her on her back, with her eyes open and her “bloody” hands on her chest.

In a statement read to Hull Crown Court on the third day of the trial of John Heald, 53, who is accused of her murder and three counts of raping another woman in Sheffield, Mr Carter said he shouted her name but she didn’t respond.

He described in detail the red dress and scarf she was wearing and how she had asked him that morning if she’d looked pretty. He said: “I couldn’t think anything at first, if anything: ‘I’ve found you.’

“Her eyes were open I wondered if she had knocked her mouth in some way. It wasn’t a natural position...I knew she was dead at that point.”

Mr Carter said his wife - a “fantastic artist” who had exhibited in her home country, China - had cooked Heald breakfast and that he’d overheard lighthearted banter between him and two other guests in the dining room.

“He appeared pleasant, nothing out of place,” he said, adding that Heald, who told him he was builder, even shook his hand.

Mr Carter said Bei, who he had met two decades earlier at a concert in Nottingham where she was on an educational exchange, was very easy to get on with and was the “perfect partner”. But she could be too trusting and was bad at reading English faces.

She’d given Heald - who the court has heard was on the run from the police after the alleged rapes - a cheap rate for two nights and he’d talked about bringing his wife to the guesthouse for an extra day.

“She is a magnet, she attracts all ages. My wife was the perfect partner to get on with. I couldn’t see her being confrontational with anyone, she would back down, she wouldn’t know what to do,” said Mr Carter who added: “She could be vulnerable and too trusting of others.”

July 18 was a busy day for both of them with Bei cooking an evening meal for Heald in between altering curtains she was putting up in two of the rooms. It wasn’t until 11pm that he started wondering where she was, noticing her sewing machine was no longer on the table in the dining room.

He said: “I went upstairs and looked around tried number five - it was locked. I began to wonder where could she be.”

He thought she may be chatting with neighbours opposite but when he rang her mobile it was under a pile of clothes.

Around half an hour later he began to worry and went outside thinking she may have had an accident. When he went back in he decided to get a key and open the door of number five.

Mr Carter had lived with his wife and two daughters in China for a decade before he moved back to the UK in 2011 to look for work. They eventually settled on the guesthouse in Bridlington, which she fell in love with immediately. However their plan had been to build up the business and sell it and move back to China which Bei missed.

The court has already heard that Heald, of Foljambe Road, Rotherham, is accused of stabbing Bei Carter once in the chest with such force that it went through her breastbone and severed her aorta. He denies murder and three counts of rape. The trial was adjourned after the jury was told Heald was unwell and Judge Jeremy Richardson QC directed that he be taken back to prison to see a doctor.