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Everitt accused's interview denials

PUBLISHED: 13:18 12 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:30 06 July 2010

The woman accused of acting as the driver in the Simon Everitt murder case originally told police she knew nothing of the killing. Norwich Crown Court was today read a statement given by Maria Chandler, who denies murder.

The woman accused of acting as the driver in the Simon Everitt murder case originally told police she knew nothing of the killing.

Norwich Crown Court was today read a statement given by Maria Chandler, who denies murder. In it she denied using her car on June 8, the day Mr Everitt went missing, but she was later caught by CCTV at a garage in the vehicle will fellow defendants Jimi-Lee Stewart and Jonathan “Munch” Clarke.

The body of 17-year-old engineering student Mr Everitt was found in a swamp near Mautby woods in June last year. He had been beaten, tied to a tree, covered in petrol and set alight. The discovery followed a high-profile search for the teenager who had been living in Yarmouth.

In her interview, Chandler was asked a long series of questions about the murder, including: Have you ever had Simon Everitt in the boot of your car? Was he in your car on that night? Were you aware that somebody else put him in the boot of your car? Did you lend your car to somebody else? Did anybody ask if they could borrow your car? Did you know he had petrol poured on him? Did you know that Munch threw a match? Do you know where he was buried?

To each question she answered simply “No”.

Asked whether either of the men could force her to do anything, she answered: “I'm my own person at the end of the day. I'm strong enough to say no and no means no. I'm strong enough to stand up to them.”

Jurors have already heard that Chandler's defence is based on a later interview she gave to police, in which she claims she was forced to go along with the plan and did not know exactly what the men planned to do to Mr Everitt.

Chandler, 40, of Lancaster Road, Yarmouth, Clarke, 19, from Telford, and Stewart, 25, of Nelson Road, Central, Yarmouth, all deny murder.

The case continues.

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