THE girlfriend of a man accused of murdering his former gay lover has told a jury of coded messages about the killing.
Dawn Mallinson told a court how David Large talked in code using her Facebook account in the lead-up to the fatal shooting of Christopher Hartley (pictured) at Clayton West.
Care home administrator Ms Mallinson began seeing 39-year-old Large after getting to know him through the social networking site in 2008, but she said she was “devastated” when he told her in July last year that their relationship was over.
She told a murder trial jury at Bradford Crown Court yesterday that she then discovered that Large’s business partner Christopher Hartley was “infatuated” with her boyfriend and that he was the one stopping them being together.
Miss Mallinson said she was heartbroken when Large told her the relationship was over, but when she spoke to mutual friend Simon Mullen he explained that Large was sick to death of Mr Hartley’s “dominant and bossy” behaviour and he still wanted to be with her.
“’He told me that Chris was a gay man and Dave wasn’t,” said Miss Mallinson.
“Were you going to accept that?” asked prosecutor Alistair MacDonald QC.
“Yeah. Because I was so in love with Dave and this man was stopping us seeing each other effectively,” she replied.
She alleged that Large, of Rona Croft, Rothwell, later told her that he was going to have Mr Hartley “taken care of”.
She said she thought he might get a good beating or something like that, but Large later said he was going to arrange for Mr Hartley to meet someone and be shot.
“He said he was going to arrange for him to go to meet someone in a lay-by. I think it was at 10 o’clock at night.” said Miss Mallinson.
“Someone was going to meet him and exchange some drugs so it would look like a drugs deal gone wrong.”
“What did you think?” asked Mr MacDonald
“I didn’t think it were going to happen,” said Miss Mallinson.
“I just thought it were all talk, you know.”
She alleged that Large later told her about the sort of gun that would be used and asked for her Facebook password so he could talk to Mullen without it appearing his own account.
Miss Mallinson said she was a bit paranoid about what they were plotting so she tried to log on at the same time and saw parts of the conversation.
She alleged that there was some reference to “a door and a hinge” and Large later told her that he had been talking in code with Mullen and it referred to a gun and bullets.
She said Large again explained that Mr Hartley was going to be shot at night in a lay-by.
“I didn’t believe it,” she said.
“I just kept telling him I don’t want to know because I didn’t think it were going to happen.”
Mr Hartley, a 45-yer-old car dealer, was shot dead on a secluded country road near Clayton West last September.
Police found some drugs close to his body and when a bungalow in the grounds of his Tingley home was searched officers discovered a drug-making factory.
The prosecution allege that Large and his 39-year-old friend Mullen, of Farding Square, South Shields, were both involved in the killing.
Mullen is alleged to have been the gunman who shot Mr Hartley in the head and chest.
Miss Mallinson, of Ravensthorpe Road, Dewsbury, said Large told her that the killer would be someone that Mullen knew or maybe someone that a friend of Mullen knew.
Large and Mullen have both denied the murder allegation.
The trial continues.