A 30-year-old woman ‘confessed’ to being involved in the torture and murder of a Newsome father-of-three during a conversation with a fellow prisoner, a jury heard.

Drug addict Nicola Bedford is said to have told fellow inmate Bethany Woolliss that Martin Ackroyd’s ordeal lasted a couple of days and that she had put a plastic bag over his head.

Woolliss, who is currently serving a prison sentence, told Bradford Crown Court that when she first spoke to Bedford in a reception room the defendant told her she was in for murder and facing “20 years”.

The court heard that Woolliss’ ex-partner had tortured and killed someone before chopping up the body.

“When I said the chopping up bit her words to me were that’s what we were going to do, but we didn’t,” alleged Woolliss.

She was asked by prosecuting counsel Nicholas Campbell QC if Bedford had said anything about what she had done.

“Well, she was mentioning something about torturing, but didn’t say exactly what any of them had done to the body of the man,” replied Woolliss.

“Who did she say had tortured the person who was murdered?” asked Mr Campbell.

“Both of them,” said Woolliss.

Woolliss said Bedford was referring to herself and her “boyfriend” and said she told her that she had put the plastic bag over the victim’s head.

“How did she appear to you to be as she was explaining this to you?” asked Mr Campbell.

“Just normal,” said Woolliss.

Woolliss, who was awaiting sentence for a robbery, said she was shocked by what Bedford told her and she repeated some of it to a prison officer.

A few months later Woolliss was contacted by police investigating the murder and provided a statement, but after Bedford found out about it she thought about retracting her evidence.

 

But she said it was the right thing to do and that was why she had come to court.

The jury has heard that 49-year-old Surjit Singh Sidhu, of New Hey Road, Oakes, has already admitted murdering the 50-year-old 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.

Bedford’s barrister Christopher Tehrani QC quizzed Woolliss about her recollection of the conversation and questioned her motivation for giving evidence.

He highlighted the fact that Woolliss had received a 50% discount on her prison sentence for a taxi driver robbery and suggested that his client had been “upset and emotional” at the time of the conversation.

“During the course of the conversation you had she never said the two of them had done the things she had described,” said Mr Tehrani.

“She described the other man who was with her doing those things.”

“You’re going to say that aren’t you,” replied Woolliss.

“I disagree.”

The trial continues.