Janet Brown murder trial: "Mrs Cannybody" was besotted with alleged killer

A woman accused of helping Donald Graham was besotted with her married lover after he bought her a house, a car and jewellery, her friend said

Northumbria Police/PA Wire Janet Brown, who disappeared in 2005
Janet Brown, who disappeared in 2005

A friend of a woman accused of helping Donald Graham fleece an heiress and her family said she was besotted with the alleged killer and hoped to marry him.

Elizabeth Todd, described as a “Mrs Cannybody”, was working as a kitchen assistant at a Tyneside nursery when she confided about her married lover to cook Brenda Brown.

Mrs Brown said Todd told her Graham had bought her a house, a car and jewellery, including an engagement ring.

Prosecutors claim Todd helped Graham defraud Janet Brown and her parents out of their Hexham estate after Graham allegedly murdered her.

The school cook said Todd told her Graham asked her to wear her best clothes and jewellery, take off her glasses and go into a bank pretending to be someone else, prosecutors say Janet.

Mrs Brown also revealed that Todd had a tattoo saying “Don” on the top of her arm, which she had covered up after their arrest.

The witness told the court she thought Graham was manipulative and that he was paying “besotted” Todd to keep her hair blonde and told her he would give her £1 for every pound in weight she lost.

Mrs Brown said she got to know Todd in 2006 when the pair were working in the kitchen at Riverside Nursery, in North Shields.

She said: “She told me about her relationship with Don and that he had bought her a house and a car and jewellery.

“She said he had promised they would get married when he was divorced.

“I saw her wearing a bracelet and engagement ring, which she said Don had given her.”

Mrs Brown said it was in 2009 that her friend told her about Graham’s request she pose as another woman.

She said: “He asked her if she could get dressed in her best clothes and jewellery and she said Don asked her to go without her glasses to pretend to be somebody else at the bank. I said she was silly if she went ahead with it.

“She didn’t say she was going to do it and she didn’t say who she was to pretend to be or which bank.”

Mrs Brown agreed with Glenn Gatland, for Todd, that Todd was normally a “Mrs Cannybody” figure.

Graham, 60, of Elsdon Avenue, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, denies murder and perverting justice but admits fraud. Todd, 51, of Elsdon Avenue, denies fraud, forgery and perverting justice.

The trial continues.


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