A WOMAN jointly accused of murder said she and the alleged Chester victim had planned to get married.
Homeless Christine Holleran, 50, said she and Andrew Mackenzie Nall, 53, were ‘looking to the future’ and enjoyed a ‘Mills and Boon’-style love affair.
Holleran is accused, alongside Gary Anthony George, 42, who is also homeless, of the murder of Mr Nall at his flat in Eversley Park, off Liverpool Road, Chester, in August last year.
Giving evidence at Chester Crown Court for the first time during the trial yesterday, Holleran said: “Andy and me were planning to get married. We hadn’t made any plans but we were looking to the future.
“Andy even wanted to take me to Glasgow to meet his mum. It was something we were looking forward to.”
Holleran told jurors she and Mr Nall had entered into a relationship in the months leading up to his death after he had invited her to stay at his house following a Salvation Army meeting.
“We just got chatting and he invited me to come and stay at his house as I was sleeping rough. It was June when I started to stay there,” said Holleran.
Asked by her lawyer Simon Medland QC, if she had slept with Mr Nall when he invited her back, she replied: “No, I slept on the sofa for quite a while.”
Holleran added: “About July time we started a relationship. It wasn’t just a case of jumping straight into bed with each other. It was more like Mills and Boon. It was romantic.
“He used to call me ‘pretty girl’, I told him he should have gone to Specsavers.”
The court heard Holleran, who is from London, had in the past held respectable jobs including deputy manager of a branch of fashion chain Bon Marche, senior sales consultant and a position with the Post Office.
She said she had moved to Cheshire after her parents had decided to move to Crewe in 1993, turning to drink after the death of her father, a man she gave up work to care for during illness in 1998.
Holleran told the court she had been homeless in Chester since 2003 and had been ‘sleeping in bushes’ and ‘cubby holes’ around the city during that time.
“I have places where I go that nobody knows about and where I feel safe,” Holleran said.
“I used to drink to feel safe. It’s hard being homeless. I needed a tipple in the morning to be able to get through the day.”
Jurors heard how Holleran had known co-accused George for ‘a few years’ and said he had an ‘obsession’ for witchcraft and the Australian horror film The Loved Ones.
“He liked spells and witchcraft but I had no interest in it,” she said.
“He was obsessed with that film The Loved Ones and used to try to get me to watch it as they had a copy at the day centre [Harold Tomlin Centre].”
When asked by Mr Medland whether she was a fan of horror movies, Holleran said: “No, no, no. I don’t like horror movies. No way.”
She added: “When Gary was talking about the film he would get into character and get really into it. He didn’t like being interrupted.”.
Both Holleran and George deny murdering Mr Nall, but George admits killing him on the grounds of diminished responsibility.