PC accused of destroying evidence against son's murder charge
A Birmingham policewoman broke down in tears as she denied lying to a jury to cover up for her son's alleged murder of his girlfriend, model Amy Leigh Barnes.
Melda Wilks, 50, an officer in the force for 29 years, said she was telling the truth about what her son, Ricardo Morrison, told her after his girlfriend was stabbed to death.
Ms Wilks said she never suspected her son, who denied harming Miss Barnes to her, and so allowed him to wash his clothes - destroying "paramount" forensic evidence. But in one courtroom exchange she agreed her son's position did not "look good" for "the black person".
Miss Barnes, 19, and Morrison, 22, originally from Birmingham, had been in a stormy 10-month relationship when the part-time model and Hollyoaks actress was stabbed to death at the home she shared with Morrison in Farnworth, near Bolton, on the morning of November 8 last year.
Morrison, a former football coach, has told the jury he left the house to go to the bank, returned, found the back door open and discovered "the love of his life" dying in a pool of blood. He has told the jury at Manchester Crown Court he put her in the recovery position and then fled to his mother's in Birmingham the same day. He denies murder.
But it is alleged his mother, a "pillar of the community", assisted an offender by allowing him to put his bloodstained tracksuit and black Adidas coat in the washer thereby destroying vital evidence, at the family home in Rubery, Birmingham.
Wilks, who told the jury she was a religious person, had been in the police force for nearly 30 years as a community beat officer and a safer schools partnership officer, running initiatives with youngsters steering them from a life of crime. She also won a Lozells Community Award for her work in the inner-city district of Birmingham.
But Stuart Driver QC, prosecuting, suggested she had misled police investigating the murder and lied to cover up for her son. Mr Driver said as a police officer the witness must have known it was "paramount" that such forensic evidence on clothing is preserved.
Wilks told the jury she got a call from Amy's mother, Karyn Killiner, accusing her son of stabbing her daughter and telling her the teenager was now critical in hospital - and the police were looking for Morrison.
But Wilks said she did not believe her son was responsible and told Amy's family "the law will deal with him", and allowed him to wash his clothes. And he accused Wilks of trying to "tip him off" with calls to his mobile phone, which had been disconnected, by getting him to call her before calling police.
Mr Driver, ending his cross examination, said: "You protected your son that day, didn't you...and you permitted him to wash his clothes and get changed in the sad belief that he had committed a very serious criminal offence...and the certain knowledge if they were not washed, those clothes would be taken for forensic scientific evidence, did you not?"
"No sir," Wilks replied.
The trial was adjourned.