British expat 'absolutely terrified' of murder accused gardener

British expat 'absolutely terrified' of murder accused gardener

The last person to see British expat Patricia Wilson alive has described her friend's tumultuous relationship with the gardener accused of her murder - and how she frantically searched the rural French house for signs of life after realising she had gone missing.

Fiona McKinley, 61, who had a close relationship with Mrs Wilson, 58, described how she grew increasingly worried when she could not contact her friend, eventually using a spare key to enter her house where she discovered pools of blood.

Mrs Wilson's relationship with her lover Jean-Louis Cayrou, 54, was initially positive, but he "turned into a jealous, possessive person, who wanted her to himself", the Cour d'Assises de l'Aveyron, in south France, heard.

The friends had returned together from England on August 17 2012, but Mrs Wilson failed to call Mrs McKinley as she had promised to the following day.

On August 23, after failing to make contact, Mrs McKinley and her friend, Miek, went to the house thinking she had "had too much to drink".

They checked upstairs and found no sign of her and realised the electricity had been turned off.

Just weeks before, Mrs Wilson had called Mrs McKinley, telling her Cayrou had broken into the house, cut the electricity and threatened her, she told the court.

"She told me on the Friday night, or Saturday morning, Jean-Louis had arrived at her house, turned off the electricity, gone into her bedroom... took a cushion from downstairs, put it on the back of her head", Mrs McKinley said.

"He was on top of her to hold her down, she tried to turn on the light, she realised it would not work.

She thought, I have to be calm, because otherwise something horrible will happen to me.

"He said to her, 'See this is what could happen to you if you live in this house by yourself.'

"She was terrified. Absolutely terrified."

Mrs McKinley said the knowledge of this incident made her start "looking for a body" with her friend Miek in the house, lake and compost heap outside.

Their friends, Patricia and Finlay, came to assist the search. The group found "blood everywhere" inside and decided to call the police.

Mrs McKinley described Mrs Wilson as "loud, funny, strong-minded" and "fun to be with".

She had moved to the Aveyron region with her partner Donald Marcus in 2008, but when he returned to England for medical treatment she became "lonely and depressed".

After meeting Cayrou, she returned to her "smiling, laughing, funny and happy" self, Mrs McKinley said.

But Cayrou was "clingy" and just three weeks after they met, had asked Mrs Wilson to marry him which was "ridiculous", Mrs McKinley added.

"I think he has two sides. He was very angry, possessive, he was jealous of her few friends, he was jealous of the cats, he was jealous of the time she spent on the computer", she said.

"He wanted to control her but she was not the kind of person who could easily be controlled."

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