Mom tried to have ex murdered thrice after losing custody battle, court hears
A mother tried to persuade three separate men to murder her former husband after he won sole custody of their child.
Victoria Breeden, 39, made ‘concerted and persistent’ efforts over five years to have Rob Parkes killed, offering one man £5,000 for his death.
Breeden , who was recorded trying to arrange one ‘hit’, claimed she had never been serious about wanting him dead. But she was convicted by a jury yesterday of three counts of soliciting to murder.
Mr Parkes, who was in court throughout the trial, had tears in his eyes as his former wife was found guilty. The court was told he escaped being murdered only by good fortune.
Setting out the prosecution’s case, Christopher Paxton QC said: ‘The defendant was in a relationship with some of the men who she sought to help her with this deadly plan. Others were just friends. These were not empty words – she spoke in a pique of temper. She had the financial means to fund her plan.
‘Each of the solicitations to murder had, or concerned, one target – and that was her ex-husband.’
Breeden, who sat in a wheelchair during the trial and gave no evidence, met her former husband at university in the 1990s. The couple, who lived in Milton Keynes, married in 2004 but the relationship had failed by 2008.
In 2013 a family court granted Mr Parkes temporary custody of the couple’s daughter, who is now a teenager. The order was made final in February 2015.
Breeden, who has two more children from other relationships, was consumed with ‘bitterness and anger’ following the rulings, Mr Paxton said. ‘This drove her, or drove her in part, to seek retribution with Mr Parkes.’
Breeden from Littleport, near Ely in Cambridgeshire, approached her friend Hamish Martin in 2014 to ‘sort out her ex’. Mr Paxton told Chelmsford Crown Court: ‘She said she could get together £5,000 if he knew someone who could do it for her.’
After repeated requests, Mr Martin said he did not want to discuss the matter. Four years later Breeden asked Graham Wall to kill Mr Parkes, whom she claimed was ‘dangerous and deceitful’.
She told him she would have access to her daughter again with her ex ‘gone’, adding: ‘If you can’t do that then you are of no use to me.’ Mr Paxton said: ‘Mr Wall believed that if he had said “yes”, the defendant would have gone through with it.’
The last man approached by Breeden, who has worked at a dog sanctuary and a bar at marina, was Earl Gernon last October.
The conversation was caught on a mobile phone recording made by Mr Wall because he suspected Breeden was cheating on him.
In the recording, which was played to the jury, she could be heard asking: ‘Is it costly? What things are very, very expensive?’
Breeden was acquited of also asking her handyman lover Daniel Proctor to kill Mr Parkes. During her police interviews, she dismissed the various approaches as ‘not serious’, ‘an off-the-cuff comment’ and ‘just a drunken, silly conversation’.
She also claimed to have only a few hundred pounds in savings. But officers found £18,690 in cash in a baby milk tin in a cupboard under the stairs.
Mr Justice Chamberlain adjourned the case for pre- sentence reports, telling the defendant: ‘The sentence I will be imposing will be a substantial custodial sentence.’
Mr Parkes was accompanied to court by his second wife Victoria.Daily Mail