Affair between Alnwick Garden staff ended in attempted murder, court hears

A love triangle between staff at a tourist attraction created by the Duchess of Northumberland ended in a night of bloodshed and attempted murder, jurors have heard.

Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 6:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 10:22 am

Brett Fenwick, 36, tried to kill his former lover Louise Pearce, 33, in a knife attack at her home and stabbed her long-term partner Gareth Mallaburn, 37, in the neck during the Christmas confrontation, it is claimed.

Newcastle Crown Court heard a secret affair had started between Miss Pearce, a cleaner, and Fenwick, a porter, while they were all working at Alnwick Garden in Northumberland, alongside Mr Mallaburn.

It was in the early hours of December 27 last year when Fenwick turned up at the couple's home in the town and called his former lover "pathetic" and said she "would never leave him" and then tried to kill her in a knife attack, jurors were told.

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The trial is being heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

Fenwick and his brother Blaine, 25, who had gone to the house with him, also stabbed Mr Mallaburn in the neck, the court heard.

Brett Fenwick, of Lower Barresdale, Alnwick, Northumberland, has admitted attempted murder but denies wounding with intent and having an article with a blade.

Blaine Fenwick, of the same address, denies wounding with intent and two offences of having an article with a blade.

Kitchen porter Mr Mallaburn has told jurors he found out about Miss Pearce's affair when she confessed on Bonfire Night last year.

He told jurors: "It was then I found out my partner actually had a five-month affair behind my back with Brett Fenwick, she told me then. I kind of had suspicions but I could never prove it up until that point."

Mr Mallaburn said he had thought he and Brett Fenwick were friends and would socialise together before he found out about the betrayal.

He added: "I was very hurt by it, gutted. I was angry and just really shocked to be honest with you. Words can't really describe how I felt to be honest."

Mr Mallaburn said he accepted he had sent angry text messages to Brett Fenwick after the truth was exposed and the head chef at Alnwick Gardens said they could no longer work the same shifts when he found out about the trouble.

Mr Mallaburn said he and Miss Pearce, who had been together for 18 years and have three children, "tried to resolve things" and she apologised after her "mistake" so they tried to move on.

The Alnwick Garden, a complex of gardens located next to Alnwick Castle, was redeveloped by the Duchess of Northumberland Jane Percy in 1997.

It now belongs to a charitable trust which is separate from Northumberland Estates and is home to the largest Japanese Cherry Orchard in the world.

Jurors have heard Miss Pearce went out with friends on Boxing Day 2018, and the violence erupted shortly after she returned home in the early hours of the following day, when the Fenwick brothers turned up outside the house "drunk and armed".

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani said the siblings chased Mr Mallaburn upstairs where he barricaded himself into a bedroom, while they tried to barge their way in.

Mr Guiliani added: "He managed to get out of the bedroom but before he could flee the house he was stabbed in the neck by Brett. Brett then turned his anger towards Louise Pearce, who he tried to kill in a drunken rage."

The prosecutor said Brett Fenwick had warned Mr Mallaburn "you don't know what I am capable of, you want me to kill you, I will do it right now" while trying to inflict a second wound.

Mr Mallaburn managed to run out of the house and went to his mother's home, where the emergency services were contacted.

Mr Guiliani added: "At this point, Brett turned his violence towards the woman with whom he was having an affair.

“He began shouting at her that she was pathetic and would never leave and then he started to attack her. He stabbed her and then she managed to get outside and the attack continued outside."

Mr Guiliani said the violence inflicted on Miss Pearce outside was "prolonged and vicious".

The trial continues.