North Yorkshire: Postmistress ‘admitted intimacy’

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A postmistress whose husband is accused of murdering her confessed to him about an “intimate” encounter with another man, a court heard today.

Three men who became involved with Diana Garbutt, 40, gave evidence at the murder trial of her husband Robin, 45, who denies killing her in the living quarters above The Village Shop and Post Office in Melsonby, North Yorkshire, last March.

John Illingworth, bald and wearing jeans and a beige jacket, told Teesside Crown Court that the Garbutts were staying with friends at the house he was sharing in York in December 2008.

After going out drinking separately, Mr Illingworth said he ended up on the sofa with Mrs Garbutt after her male friend and Garbutt had gone to their respective beds.

He told the court: “Me and Diana were downstairs together.

“We were intimate on the settee.”

Later, Mr Illingworth said: “It was very cloudy, because we were both very drunk.”

Mrs Garbutt said she told him later that she had confessed to her husband about what happened, the jury was told.

Jamie Hill QC, defending, said: “You don’t know whether she told him you had kissed, cuddled or had sex? You weren’t sure yourself?”

He replied: “It was very cloudy, I remember her saying ‘Whatever you are doing, you have to stop this because of Robin’. She made it very clear.”

Mr Illingworth said he assumed they had sex because Mrs Garbutt rang him afterwards.

When he heard Garbutt knew about the settee incident, Mr Illingworth asked her if he should expect a visit from the husband.

“I would have thought he would be angry,” Mr Illingworth said.

“She said ‘Robin’s not like that, he’s not physical’.”

A Facebook friend of Mrs Garbutt told the court they enjoyed “cheeky banter” about sex.

Craig Hall, from Melsonby, was divorcing his wife and shared online chats with Mrs Garbutt about it.

He went on late night bike rides with her, but denied they ever had a physical relationship.

Mrs Garbutt told him her marriage was going through a “rough patch”, he said.

She told him her husband was considering paying for her to rent somewhere in the village for her to stay for a while.

David Hatton QC, prosecuting, asked: “Did she say whether she was happy?”

Mr Hall replied: “She was happy, but not with everything - the sex.

“Robin was not interested in it.”

Mr Hall said she told him they had been for counselling.

He said they chatted on Facebook about sex, adding: “We talked about what we liked, what we maybe had done - not together.

“I think I said ‘If my wife had had your interest in sex I don’t think we would have got divorced’.”

Mr Hall said: “I wouldn’t say it was flirty, it was just cheeky banter.”

The husband of Mrs Garbutt’s cousin also told the court he had kissed her following a family party in north Wales.

Kevin Heapey, from Chelmsford, Essex, said he had since separated from his wife Angela.

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