Ex-wife cleared of conspiring to murder after sinking husband's boat at Brighton Marina

Posted On 19 Sep 2011 at 7:16 pm

A woman accused of sinking her wealthy husband’s boat at Brighton Marina in an attempt to kill him no longer faces a charge of conspiracy to murder.

The case against Mandy Fleming, 47, collapsed after an Old Bailey judge lambasted the evidence of a “supergrass” which was central to the case.

Fleming has admitted damaging the luxury cruiser, the Double Dragon, recklessly endangering life.

The £90,000 vessel sank on Valentine’s Day in 2004 after holes were drilled in its hull in the wake of the Flemings’ marriage falling apart when she had an affair.

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Fleming, of Sheerness in Kent, may still go to prison and faces a £55,000 damages claim from her former husband Adam Fleming, 45, from Mitcham in South London.

Mr Fleming, who runs a haulage firm, filed the claim for damages after having his boat dredged up.

The charge of conspiracy to murder relied on the evidence of discredited supergrass Gary Eaton, 53, whose lies caused the collapse of a murder case in March.

Dangerous

Judge Richard Hone lifted a court order that had restricted full reporting of the earlier case until today (Monday 19 September).

He described Eaton’s evidence as not just unreliable but false and highly dangerous.

Eaton told police that Fleming had offered him money to have her husband killed.

The judge said: “Gary Eaton is a person who is capable of inventing detailed accounts of events which never happened and shows either blatant untruthfulness or alternatively is a component of his personality disorder typified by folie de grandeur and self aggrandisement.”

He expressed concerns about the serious danger in a case where the only evidence of a conspiracy to murder had been provided by Eaton who was prone to “fabrication and fantasy”.

He referred to Easton’s psychiatric history and how a series of lies had led to a personality order being diagnosed.

Persuasive

He said: “Gary Eaton’s propensity to lie is pathological and can be extremely persuasive.”

One psychiatrist had noted that Eaton was depressed after the death of his mother when she was in fact alive and well. He had even convinced people to give him money to help pay for her funeral.

Three years ago Eaton admitted 20 charges, including bribing police, blackmail, robberies, burglaries, drugs offences and firearms offences. A further 32 charges were taken into consideration.

He was jailed for 27 years reduced to three years as a result of information that he gave to Scotland Yard detectives – and he has since left prison.

Fleming no longer faces a second trial at which she was to face a charge of hiring a hitman to kill her husband.

Her former boyfriend, David Brown, 50, also of Sheerness, and Bradley Hanson, 27, of Littlehampton, also had charges of conspiring to murder Mr Fleming dropped.

David Camp, 67, from Shirley in South London, was acquitted of selling a Browning 9mm pistol to someone else who was accused of being part of the conspiracy to kill Mr Fleming.

Fleming, now divorced, was bailed to be sentenced on Thursday 6 October.

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