4:37pm Thursday 28th February 2013
By Peter Magill
AN alleged gambling addict accused of murdering his partner’s grandmother went through hundreds of pounds in minutes on betting shop roulette machines, a court heard.
George Portsmouth, 26, made repeated withdrawals from the bank account of partner Janie Shuttleworth to gamble at the William Hill shop in Keighley, Preston Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Kathryn Blackwell said he even asked a colleague if he could borrow £5 “so he could buy nappies for his daughter” then put the money immediately into the nearby machine.
It was estimated that he lost around £245 in that session alone, according to workmates, the court heard.
Later he told colleagues that he was going to blame Janie for losing the money by making up a bogus accident to their car and his workmates told him he was “out of order”, said Miss Blackwell.
Portsmouth, of Varley Street, Colne, is on trial accused of murdering Miss Shuttleworth’s grandmother Connie French.
It is alleged he broke into her North Street home nearby and tried to smother her with a pillow before taking £230 she had kept near her bed.
Mrs French is said to have identified Portsmouth as her attacker in a bedside interview with Burnley CID before she succumbed to her injuries a short time later.
Miss Blackwell said that Portsmouth was also spotted gambling on a roulette machine at the BetFred shop in Market Street, Colne, on March 26, shortly before the alleged attack on Mrs French.
He is believed to have won and lost around £839 in just over 50 minutes while using the machine, the court was told.
But when he was arrested and interviewed about the attack on Mrs French, Portsmouth denied he had a gambling problem, other than placing the odd £10 or £20 stake.
Portsmouth denies murdering 80-year-old Mrs French.
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