Woman 'paid hitman £20,000 to kill married lover' after fling ended
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A woman is accused of paying a hitman more than £20,000 to kill her former lover after a brief fling.
Helen Hewlett is at the centre of an ongoing trial at Norwich Crown Court, where she was described as being 'utterly transfixed' with Paul Belton after they shared 'intimate touching and kissing' in a car.
The pair met while working at the Linda McCartney frozen food factory in Fakenham, Norfolk.
Belton, a 50-year-old married dad, was said to have 'regretted' the fling immediately after it happened.
However, Marti Blair KC, prosecuting, said Hewlett 'became obsessed' with her lover and would go on to stalk him for more than two and a half years.
The 43-year-old married mum reportedly began bombarding him with emails and texts and posting messages about him on Facebook.
When Belton quit his job and moved to the Kinnerton Confectionery factory in Fakenham, the jury was told that Hewlett ended up landing a position there in a bid to continue their relationship.
He reportedly arranged his shift patterns at the site - which makes chocolate products for Tesco - to avoid Hewlett, and started to block her relentless messaging.
But her behaviour only escalated, said prosecutors, and she later lodged complaints with factory bosses accusing him of bullying and sexual harassment.
Blair said, "She was determined to ruin his reputation at work," and Belton was advised to contact the police.
Giving evidence in court this week, Belton explained why he didn't tell his family about the investigation, stating: "It was just email and I could deal with them. I felt no threat."
However, in May last year someone complained to Tesco that he had made homophobic and racist comments.
He said: "I believe that the Human Resources department was called and they said they know who it is, and you need to go the police...
"I just wanted to be left alone to get on with my life. I just wanted it to stop. I had no intention of getting anyone into trouble."
Eventually Belton's family found out, with the dad adding: "When I got home my children were really upset and hurt, and my wife was upset that I had not told her earlier."
But things only descended from there, with Hewlett allegedly turning to the dark web to find someone to murder him.
Norwich Crown Court heard how she used all her savings, overdraft and loans to buy Bitcoin so she could place an order on a site called 'Online Killers Market' which purported to supply hitmen.
She was said to have transferred £20,547 into an online account together with Belton’s name, home and work addresses and his picture.
Blair said Hewlett told the hitmen: "It’s vital it looks like an accident."
She was arrested after a tip-off to the police, who later discovered that she had searched online for fatal accidents in the area to see if Belton had been killed.
The jury was shown a number of messages Hewlett had sent to her former fling before allegedly hiring the would-be hitmen, including one in which she said: "Hope it was worth it. You are nothing, but a spiteful bully.”
In other emails which went straight into his spam folder, she begged to be able to meet him, saying: "I know I am probably the last person you want to see."
She was also said to have sent him explicit photos and videos of herself which Belton said he 'immediately deleted'.
The jury heard how Hewlett previously told officers that she had 'no intention of going through with the order', but Blair argued: "These actions go far beyond mere fantasy."
The trial is ongoing.