The woman accused of murdering former pub licensee Martin Ackroyd had tried to kill herself by jumping off a viaduct a few years earlier.

Details of Nicola Bedford’s background emerged as her barrister questioned one of Mr Ackroyd’s three sons about his knowledge of the defendant’s life.

Mr Ackroyd died at his home in Ashenhurt Rise, Newsome. The court heard how he was beaten, suffocated and strangled.

Stephen Ackroyd revealed that he first knew Bedford when her brother became his best friend at junior school, but he later heard stories about her becoming a prostitute and a heroin addict.

Mr Ackroyd said he was aware that Bedford had jumped from the viaduct and her barrister Christopher Tehrani QC told the court that his client had suffered a fractured back and serious ankle and foot injuries.

The jury heard evidence at Bradford Crown Court about how Mr Ackroyd and his two brothers disapproved of their father’s relationship with Bedford which began about two years before his death earlier this year.

Mr Ackroyd said he was told by them that their relationship was a non-physical one, but he said everything about his father changed after he met Bedford.

“His appearance changed, everything about him, the aura around him,’’ said Mr Ackroyd.

He said his father didn’t brush his hair, his nails started to grow really long and his drinking got dramatically worse.

Mr Ackroyd said they all told their father they were not happy about the situation, but he was an adult and could make his own decisions.

 

The court heard details about various incidents of violence against Mr Ackroyd’s father and his son said on one occasion his dad had turned up with a black eye.

After initially saying he had run into a lamp post he later claimed that Bedford had hit him.

Mr Ackroyd said he told Bedford to stay away from his father and his dad stopped talking to the brothers about her.

The jury has heard that 49-year-old Surjit Singh Sidhu, of New Hey Road, Oakes, has already admitted murdering the 50-year-old father-of-three during a brutal attack at his ground floor flat in Ashenhurst Rise, Newsome.

Mr Ackroyd, a devoted Elvis Presley fan, was punched and kicked before being tied to a bed and strangled with a piece of cable from a DVD recorder.

Bedford, of Blackers Court, Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury, has pleaded not guilty to murder, but the prosecution has alleged that she tried to pin the blame for the killing on Sidhu.

The victim’s eldest son Michael also told the jury that he did not speak to his father for about nine months after they fell out over his relationship with Bedford.

He said when they started to meet up again his father was losing weight, looking unwell and messy.

The court heard that he saw his father for the last time a few weeks before the murder when they met up for a coffee in Huddersfield bus station.

Mr Ackroyd said his father was wearing new shoes, but he also asked to lend some money to buy tobacco and did not have any credit on his phone.

The trial continues.