Son tells trial how he found mother's battered body at ex-boyfriend's flat

By Marion Brennan | Netherton | Crime | Published:

A son told police how he found his mother lying dead on the floor in the same spot where she had been struck down up to 24 hours earlier.

The scene of the alleged murder in Cinder Bank, Netherton

Daniel Piddington had become increasingly worried about 44-year-old Claire Harris when she failed to return home or respond to anxious calls from family members after visiting her ex-boyfriend in the Dudley flat they once shared, a court heard.

The following day her son got a lift to the address in Cinder Bank, Netherton, and banged on the door and window for several minutes without a response before looking through the letterbox and seeing his mother's ex-partner Rickardo Wilson on the sofa.

He told police Wilson eventually opened the door just a crack and told him that the mother-of-eight had gone home but Mr Piddington spotted his mother's head on the floor behind him and burst into the flat.

He said he could tell from his mother's bruised and swollen face that she was dead and attacked 50-year-old Wilson, punching him repeatedly.

"I knew she was dead but I kept shouting for her to get up. I hit Rickardo, I hit him and hit him and hit him. I couldn't stop hitting him. I screamed at him saying he'd killed my mum," he told police in a statement read to Stafford Crown Court.

Mr Piddington's former girlfriend Courtney Mitchell, who had given him a lift to the flat, alerted the emergency services before running into the road to hail a passing motorist.

Inside the flat, the victim's son had tied up Wilson's wrists, the jury heard.

More from the trial:


The defendant was assessed to have no mental health issues when he was seen by a psychiatric nurse at Oldbury custody block, said Mr Jonas Hankin, QC, prosecuting.

The court heard he confessed to the medic: "I done it. I got to admit to you it happened, it shouldn't have happened."

Ms Harris had lain in the same position since Wilson had wrestled her to the ground the night before in a bid to disarm her after she approached him with a bread knife, he alleged.


He said she had 'gone limp' in his arms and initially thought she had passed out. He tried rousing her by shaking her but then realised she had stopped breathing and tried to resuscitate her. He told police he felt 'sheer utter panic'.

He decided to commit suicide by taking an overdose of anti-depressant tablets he had accumulated but claimed Daniel Piddington arrived before he had a chance to carry out his plan.

Sarah Ann Kelly, a friend of the victim, told police that Ms Harris called her from the flat on the night she died asking her to come and pick her up.

She could tell her friend was 'upset and crying' but did not have enough petrol in her car to drive over. However, she added, such a request had 'become normal behaviour.'

Wilson pleads not guilty to murder and manslaughter. The case continues.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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