'Body in the boot' murder accused drove to Wales after beating wife to death, court hears

John Yates

Victim Barbara Yates

First published in News
Last updated
Warrington Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A HUSBAND murdered his estranged wife then drove to a police station in North Wales with her body in the back of his car, a court has heard.

John Yates, aged 58, of Derby Drive, Padgate, denies murdering his wife of 18 years, 49-year-old mum-of-two Barbara, last July.

He admits manslaughter.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard today how a ‘violent and abusive’ Yates ‘beat his wife to death’.

Wyn Lloyd Jones, prosecuting, said he then drove his Peugeot 306 estate car to the North Wales police traffic base at St Asaph.

He told officers ‘’I need to hand myself in please, I have killed my wife.

“I have just had enough.

“I have mental health issues.

“She is in the back of the car.”

The court heard Yates had submitted his wife to an abusive relationship for 30 years.

”He had been violent towards her in the past,” said Mr Lloyd Jones.

“He had displayed towards her a temperament which was controlling and possessive.

“He had shown he was jealous.

“When the defendant was interviewed by the police after his arrest he told them he didn’t want to share.”

Mrs Yates once told her sister she had been locked in a cupboard, while in 1987 she was admitted to hospital after he allegedly punched her repeatedly, tried to strangle her, and banged her head on a car dashboard.

The marriage ended in 2009 when Mrs Yates, who drove a taxi for disabled children in Warrington, left him.

In 2011 she was taken to hospital after a ‘prolonged assault’ by the defendant, who allegedly hit her in the head with a hammer after she refused to have sex with him.

“Fortunately, it wasn’t with great force,” Mr Lloyd Jones told the jury of eight women and four men.

“He screamed at her ‘you are going to die.”

The court heard her face was bloodied and bruised and a friend said she hardly recognised her. But she withdrew a complaint against him.

Seven months later, on July 18, she was killed.

Evidence from Dr Brian Rodgers, a Home Office pathologist, revealed she had multiple skull fractures, with many bones in her face shattered.

The doctor said there had been multiple blows using a weapon and from punches, and manual strangling.

During police interviews, Yates claimed he hadn’t intended to kill his wife but “I lost my head.”

He had been on police bail following an incident 13 days earlier when he stole 35 pairs of shoes and a new dress from her home, putting them on a bonfire.

The court heard Yates will defend the murder charge on a basis of losing control. The trial continues.

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