A court heard how two friends from a horseriding stable plotted for months to kill businesswoman Sadie Hartley– even travelling to Germany to buy a taser gun. Sarah Williams, 34, and Katrina Walsh, 55, are charged with the murder of Ms Hartley in her home in Helmshore, Lincolnshire on 14 January.
They are said to have planned to attack the director of a medical support company when she was alone at her £450,000 stone built house. The 60-year-old's partner, a former firefighter, was on a skiing holiday in Switzerland at the time of the murder.
During the hearing at Preston crown court, both woman appeared via video link on 22 January from HMP Styal and both entered no plea. A trial date has been set for July 4 and a preliminary hearing date in May, both women were remanded in custody.
Ms Hartley, a mother-of-two with an adult son and daughter, was discovered stabbed to death in a pool of blood. The women were accused of planning to kill Ms Hartley since September 2015.
Ms Williams, 34, from Blacon, Chester, is a sales worker for Crystal Ski Holidays, and Ms Walsh, 55, of Piper's Ash, Chester, is a horse riding instructor. Both were arrested just days after the killing.
Ms Williams, was said to have cried as she heard the case against her. Whilst Ms Walsh appeared had to be taken away from the video link screen because she became too upset, her defence team described her as being in a "vulnerable state".
Francis McEntee, for the prosecution, said according to The Times: "There is a broad range of evidence in this case. The crown will say this was a meticulously planned and ruthlessly executed murder.
"The planning goes back as far as September and evidence will come from Germany — evidence we say that both defendants went abroad to purchase a Taser."