A drug-addicted prostitute and her ‘pimp’ are facing long jail sentences for murdering a man who had offered them a roof over their heads.

Heroin and crack-addicted alcoholic Nicola Bedford was yesterday found guilty of murdering her ex-partner Martin Ackroyd at his Newsome home, in May.

Her ‘pimp’, on-off boyfriend and drug dealer Surjit Singh Sidhu had admitted murdering the dad-of-three at an earlier hearing.

Bedford had denied her involvement – but a jury at Bradford Crown Court took just a few hours to convict her following a two-week trial.

As the jury foreman announced a guilty verdict, Bedford simply nodded in acknowledgment while suppressed cheers sounded from Mr Ackroyd’s family, who had been watching from the public gallery for the whole trial.

Bedford, 30, of Blackers Court, Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury, and Sidhu, 49, of New Hey Road, Oakes, will be sentenced on Friday. Both will be given life sentences but the judge can make recommendations as to how long they must serve behind bars.

Last week, jurors heard that Mr Ackroyd underwnt a terrible ordeal at his flat in Ashenhurst Rise.

Martin Ackroyd
Martin Ackroyd
 

He had been beaten, suffocated with a plastic bag and then strangled with a cable from a DVD player.

The killers then dumped his body in a bath and returned to the Ashenhurst Rise flat the following day in an attempt to clear up the murder scene.

Mother-of-two Bedford claimed she had tried to pull Sidhu off Mr Ackroyd and had begged him to stop the assault.

But the court heard Bedford had ‘confessed’ to being involved in the torture and murder of the 50-year-old during a conversation with a fellow prisoner while on remand at New Hall Prison, Flockton.

Deprived and depraved - upbringing that turned Nicola Bedford into a killer

Huddersfield-born killer Nicola Bedford had changed school 36 times when she left education with no qualifications.

And by the time she left school, she had already been working for a year as a prostitute in a brothel - even though she was just 15.

In court Bedford, whose parents had divorced when she was seven, claimed her mother had also worked as a prostitute.

She told jurors that by the age of 16 she had become an alcoholic and would drink between eight and 15 cans of super-strength lager a day.

In 2000, she was convicted of dealing MDMA.

Outside her work as a vice girl, the court heard Bedford had relationships with various men, some of whom were also drug addicts.

She had four children but two died the day they were born.

After developing a crack and heroin habit, Bedford began working on the street in Huddersfield’s red light area.

 

Bedford told the court she had made 10 serious suicide attempts, including one in 2010 when she broke two vertebrae, her feet and ankles jumping from a railway bridge.

She met Sidhu – known as ‘Sid’ – in a brothel.

Earlier in his life, Sikh Sidhu had eloped to marry his Muslim fiancee.

The couple had two children before the relationship broke down about seven years ago.

Bedford told the court that her relationship with Sidhu was initially good.

Sidhu, who ran a cleaning company which had a contract with Kirklees Council, gave her a flat to live in and paid £4,500 for her to have a breast enlargement operation.

But the relationship soured and Sidhu would beat and strangle Bedford.

On one occasion Sidhu attempted to run her down in his Mercedes, Bedford told jurors.

She said Sidhu, who was last year convicted of drink driving, became her pimp and would take her earnings.

Bedford added Sidhu would ply her with drugs in exchange for sex.

But despite the abusive relationship – and having made several complaints to the police – Bedford would always return to Sidhu for drugs.

Read about the moment Bedford called the Examiner to protest her innocence after her arrest for Mr Ackroyd's murder - click here.