Beds, Herts & Bucks

Louise Lotz murder trial: Woman 'fractured neighbour's skull with spade'

Louise Lotz Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption Louise Lotz was found with head injuries outside her home

A woman died when her skull was fractured by a spade in an attack carried out by her next-door neighbour, a court has heard.

Debby Foxwell, 40, is accused of murdering Louise Lotz, 67, in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, in August.

Seven blows were delivered to Ms Lotz's skull and she also suffered a fractured jaw and eye socket, a jury was told.

Ms Foxwell denies murder, but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

St Albans Crown Court previously heard Ms Lotz, who lived on Fordwich Road, was "a bit of a hoarder".

A jury was told Ms Foxwell "blamed Louise Lotz, rightly or wrongly, for not being able to sell her property".

The court heard after a row in their back gardens on 24 August, Ms Foxwell grabbed a spade from her garden shed and later attacked Ms Lotz.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Ms Lotz lived in Fordwich Road, Welwyn Garden City

Home Office pathologist Dr Charlotte Randall told the jury that the blows had fractured her skull and caused injuries to her brain.

Dr Randall also found bruises and abrasions on her right forearm which were consistent with being "defence-type injuries", caused by Ms Lotz raising her arm to protect her head.

Asked by prosecutor Alan Blake what conclusions she had drawn, she said: "The head injuries are consistent with being caused by blunt force trauma."

She said Ms Lotz had died from a "severe traumatic head injury" and the injuries fitted with information she had been provided that a spade had been used in the attack.

The trial continues.

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