Homeless woman guilty for role in fatal stabbing

Karl Pound and Mary Cash Image copyright Northamptonshire police
Image caption Karl Pound and Mary Cash were both convicted over the death of Robert Chester

A homeless woman has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a man who had taken her in.

Robert Chester was stabbed to death and his house in Rothersthorpe Road, Northampton, set alight on 8 October.

Mary Cash, 39, of no fixed abode, and Karl Pound, of Briar Hill, Northampton, were both arrested and charged.

Pound confessed to murder but Cash denied the charge and was convicted of manslaughter by a jury at Northampton Crown Court.

Mr Chester was found dead on his sofa with a eight stab wounds.

Image caption The house on Rothersthorpe Road where Robert Chester was found dead

The trial heard from a number of eyewitnesses who said they had seen visitors leave Mr Chester's house the day he died.

CCTV footage showed Cash and Pound walking around the area and two knives were recovered from various places they had been.

The pair were arrested when a resident spotted them in a garden with their trousers pulled down.

The court heard it took more than 13 hours for Cash to be sober enough to be interviewed.

'Fatal mistake'

She told police she was frightened of Pound and said he had struck her. But she maintained she played no part in the killing or setting the house alight.

Prosecutors said Cash was either involved in a physical attack on Mr Chester or she "encouraged or assisted" Karl Pound to do it.

Speaking after the verdict, Det Insp Louise Hemingway, who led the investigation, said: "Robert was known by his neighbours to be a quiet man who never caused any issues or harmed anyone.

"It appears that an act of kindness by Robert was a fatal mistake. He offered to take in two people who might otherwise have had to spend a night out on the streets on a cold October night.

"They repaid [him] by... stabbing him in his own house and then setting a fire to cover their tracks."

Cash will be sentenced along with Pound after psychiatric reports.

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