FRIENDS of a woman found dead in her home last year said she ‘just wanted someone to love her’.
Debbie Levey, 44, of Cherry Tree Cottage, East Ashling, was found dead early on Monday, January 28, 2012. A postmortem concluded she had been smothered and died of asphyxia.
Her ex-lover Phillip Brown, who is in his forties and from Selsey, was charged with her murder in May, 2013.
The care manager was ‘afraid’ of Brown, according to one friend, who spoke at Lewes Crown Court today (January 10).
Alison Gaudion, a neighbour and friend of Ms Levey, said the couple had been ‘going out’ for a few weeks at the start of 2012, but broke it off as the relationship was ‘dull’.
But Brown took her on a dinner date, and ‘confessed his undying love for her’.
“He said he wanted to get married and have children with her,” said Mrs Gaudion.
“At that point she was quite flattered with these sweeping statements, so that is when they started to have a proper relationship. He started to make more of an effort and in the beginning I think she was quite flattered, although a little bit freaked out as it was a little creepy.”
She described Brown’s text messages to Ms Levey as ‘gushing’ when the relationship started.
But as the relationship moved on things changed.
Ms Levey ended the relationship in November 2012, after she found out Brown had broken her trust by cheating her out of £10, the court heard. Prosecutor Mark Dennis QC described the as ‘the final straw’.
“At this point the texts became nasty,” said Mrs Gaudion.
Just before Ms Levey was due to have a hysterectomy in November, Mrs Gaudion said her friend had shown her a text from Brown which said: “I hope they find cancer.”
On the night of Ms Levey’s death, she spoke to Mrs Gaudion on the phone at 6pm.
“She was down in the dumps,” she said. “I remember her saying she felt like he was ruining her life.
“She was afraid of him.”
Her friend, she said, was ‘very caring, fun, pretty and always looking to find happiness’.
Sarah Weekes, a colleague and friend, who found Ms Levey dead in her home, also gave evidence in court.
She worked with Ms Levey, and said the pair were due to go on a course in London that morning and she had gone to pick her up.
Arriving at Ms Levey’s home at 7.13am, she texted Ms Levey, but there was no reply.
She went around the back of the house and saw her friend through a side window.
“I could see she was not alive,” she said.
The backdoor was unlocked so she went inside, and she said there was something unusual about the scene.
“She was covered with a brown throw which was flat and straight. It just looked strange to me, It looked quite flat like somebody had pulled it up.”
Ms Weekes then ran to the neighbours house, who called the emergency services.
Another witness giving evidence, Belinda Stanford, worked with Ms Levey at Leaholme care home, Chichester, said she had spoken to her friend on the phone on the day she died and said Ms Levey ‘was a bit down, a bit depressed’.
“She just wanted someone to love her,” she said.
She described Ms Levey’s relationship with Brown as ‘controlling’.
The trial continues and is expected to last around four weeks.