A SECOND woman appeared before Blackburn magistrates this morning charged with the murder of Helmshore business woman Sadie Hartley.

Katrina Walsh, 55, of Hare Lane, Chester, was sent in custody to Preston Crown Court where she will appear alongside her co-accused Sarah Williams tomorrow.


Walsh spoke only to confirm her name, address and date of birth during the hearing, which lasted less than two minutes.

Yesterday, Williams, 34, appeared before magistrates in Blackburn, accused of killing Ms Hartley at her home in Sunny Bank Road on Thursday night.

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Her body was discovered more than 24 hours later. She had suffered multiple stab wounds.

It came as Ms Hartley's family spoke publicly for the first time about their loss.

Williams, of Treborth Road, Blacon, Chester, who appeared in court wearing a patterned, sleeveless top and grey jogging bottoms, spoke only to confirm her name, address and date of birth.

She was flanked by two female dock officers during the two-minute hearing and led away in handcuffs.

Any application for bail in a murder case must be heard by a judge at a crown court and defence solicitor Kerry Lewis did not address the magistrates.


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It has emerged Ms Hartley, who had two grown-up children, Harry, 23, and Charlotte, 22, had just celebrated Charlotte's engagement, days before she died.

A statement on behalf of the family read: "We are utterly devastated and cannot begin to understand why mum should be taken so cruelly from us. The whole family is numb.

"She was the best mum we could have. She cared so much for our welfare and was a massive inspiration to us all. She was so excited about Charlotte's engagement just a week ago."

Detectives revealed they had recovered a number of weapons in the hunt for the murder weapon and were awaiting the results of forensic tests.

They would not say what the weapons were, but they were believed to have been found in the Cheshire area.

They did confirm they had recovered a Renault Clio car, which was seen arriving on Sunny Bank Road just before 8pm on Thursday, before driving off moments later. It was found in the Cheshire area.

They are also no longer looking for the person seen passing a man as he walked out of Sunny Bank Road and an unknown person who walked into the cul-de-sac, leaving a few minutes later. 

They have also concluded their search of a house in Boyd Close, Leasowe, on the Wirral.

Meanwhile, Ms Hartley's partner Ian Johnston paid tribute to the 'wonderful' 60-year-old mother-of-two.

Mr Johnston, 54, said: "Sadie was a wonderful mother, sister, partner and friend. 

“We are all utterly distraught following her senseless, brutal murder. 

“She was a respectable, hard-working person who had run a successful business that supported medical services. 

“It is an utter tragedy that she has been taken so unnecessarily from us and will be sadly missed by all those who knew her. 

“The family now respectfully wish and hope that they may be left in peace to enable them to cope with this terrible event.”

Mr Johnston was informed of her death over the phone by police while he was in Switzerland skiing with friends.

The former firefighter and team member of the Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team (RPMRT) has now returned to the UK. 

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