Paul Retallick murder trial: Mum sobs as court told she was ‘terrified’ of ex-partner
A mother whose former partner was allegedly beaten to death in front of her eyes sobbed as she gave evidence at her father and brother’s murder trial.
Heidi McGinty, 26, of Ilminster, was visibly upset and broke down in tears as she described events leading up to the death of Paul Retallick, 35, at her Langport home last year.
Miss McGinty’s father Michael Frank McGinty, 55, and her brother Lee McGinty, 25, both of Peony Road, Langport, are accused of Mr Retallick’s murder.
Speaking at their trial at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday, Miss McGinty described the state of her relationship with Mr Retallick in September as “bad” and said she was “terrified” of him.
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She said she had not seen Mr Retallick for a long time and then he called her two days before his death.
She said: “I had a phone call from him saying he needed to talk to me. He was crying. I fell for it. As soon as he arrived, he beat me up.”
Mr Retallick stayed at Miss McGinty’s home for two or three nights just prior to his death but the couple went to great lengths to ensure they were not discovered by her father and brother, the court heard.
This included Miss McGinty drawing her curtains and ignoring her father’s phone calls and text messages.
The couple visited two of Miss McGinty’s friends on Saturday before returning to her Iris Way home in the evening, the court was told.
Miss McGinty said she “hid” from her family while Mr Retallick was with her as she thought they would be “disappointed” she was seeing him again.
She added: “I’m not a very good liar. If I was with Paul I would ignore my family because I was worried about what they might think.
“I didn’t want them to hate me.”
Miss McGinty said a text message she received from her father at 8.12pm on Saturday, September 15, referred to his concern over her drug abuse. It said: “Where are you? Don’t you answer the phone? We need to talk Heidi. I will pop over tomorrow.”
A series of text messages sent between the witness and her former partner were read out to the court which appeared to show Mr Retallick was waiting in his car on Sunday for Miss McGinty to give him the all-clear to return to the house.
The mother-of-three told the court she tried to keep Mr Retallick away from her home and he would not leave her alone.
Mr Retallick parked his blue Peugeot 406 on Wearne Lane when he visited Miss McGinty rather than outside her house, the court was told.
Text messages sent on Sunday, September 16, appeared to show that both Miss McGinty’s brother and father called at her house while Mr Retallick was waiting in his car.
However, she said she could not remember if they both did and at what time.
Miss McGinty said she was concerned about them calling round again in the evening when she was with the victim as she didn’t want any “conflict”.
The court heard how she ignored her dad’s phone calls around 8.30pm which Miss McGinty said she could not remember because of the drugs she was taking.
When the defendants arrived at the house unannounced, she said she “panicked”.
She said Mr Retallick – who was sitting on the toilet seat while she was in the bath – urged her to answer the door. He suggested hiding in the attic but she suggested the wardrobe.
She said when she let her family in, her brother asked if she had any hair gel and went straight upstairs.
She was talking to her father in the kitchen when she heard Lee McGinty move around upstairs, the court heard. She said she asked her brother what he was doing, to which he said he was weighing himself.
When she heard shuffling upstairs, she said she told Michael McGinty that Mr Retallick was there.
Miss McGinty broke down in tears as she struggled to describe the scene that greeted her in the upstairs bedroom. She said: “Lee was just hitting him by the wardrobe. He was hitting him in the face with his fists.
“Paul was crouched over. My dad jumped on his back and said, you broke my ribs you b*****d. He had his arms sort of on his shoulders from the back. I don’t remember anything that was being said.”
At this point Miss McGinty told the court she had difficulty remembering what happened next. The trial was adjourned until yesterday, when Miss McGinty was expected to give evidence through a video link.