Broker told medics wife ‘well’ 30 minutes before 999 call, murder trial hears

A mortgage broker accused of murdering his wife at their home told medics he had last seen her alive and well 30 minutes before he called 999, a court has heard.

Prosecutors say Robert Hammond faced a “surging mountain of debt and financial pressures” and had paid his wife Sian’s life insurance policy up to date days before her death.

A post-mortem examination indicated Mrs Hammond had been strangled, prosecutor Christopher Paxton KC earlier told the trial at Cambridge Crown Court.

Hammond, 47, called the ambulance service at 1.50am on October 30 last year and told the operator he had found his 46-year-old wife face down on the bed and not breathing.

He denies the murder of his wife.

Air ambulance doctor Abilius Wong was among the medics who attended the couple’s home in Primes Corner, Histon, Cambridgeshire, arriving in a response vehicle at 2.06am.

Dr Wong told jurors on Wednesday: “According to my memory, he (Hammond) told us he had last seen the patient (Mrs Hammond) well about 30 minutes before the 999 call was made.”

Critical care paramedic Sally Boor, who attended in the car with Dr Wong, was asked by defence barrister Karim Khalil KC if Hammond may “in fact have said 30 to 60 and you noted the first bit and not the second bit”.

She replied that it was “unlikely but possible”.

Ms Boor recalled that during CPR, blood had come up through one of the tubes inserted by medics into Mrs Hammond’s mouth.

Cambridge Crown Court
The trial was being held at Cambridge Crown Court (Chris Radburn/PA)

“It’s not typical for it to happen at such an early stage,” she said, adding: “It normally occurs after 20 to 30 minutes of resuscitation.”

She said she had been told that Mrs Hammond had earlier taken diazepam, that was not her own, “because she was excited and nervous about her daughter coming back from Switzerland later that day”.

Emergency care assistant Carl Clifton, who also attended the scene, was asked by prosecutor Mr Paxton if there was “ever any sign of life”.

“No, there was not,” he said, agreeing that Mrs Hammond was pronounced dead at 2.35am following CPR efforts.

He said that eight medics attended the address to try to save Mrs Hammond.

Police constable Richard Jenkins, who attended the scene at 4.18am, said he contacted his sergeant “based on the evidence that had been given to me”, adding that “there were a number of concerns”.

He agreed with the prosecutor that he noted “a number of bruises and marks” on Mrs Hammond.

He said he went in every room of the house, other than the one nearest the front door where there were two dogs, with his bodycam and noted that “at the top of the stairs there was a broken picture frame”.

The officer interviewed Hammond in his home, with around 40 minutes of bodycam video footage played to jurors.

Asked what time he left his wife to come downstairs, Hammond said: “I would have thought about 12-ish.”

He said he later found her upstairs.

The officer asked if Mrs Hammond had any injuries on her, and the defendant replied: “She bruises easily.”

Hammond said his wife “doesn’t get prescribed them (diazepam) – her mother gets them for her”.

In court, Mr Khalil, for Hammond, told Pc Jenkins that in the interview the defendant “was saying ‘I’m not certain about timing’”.

“He was struggling, it seems, in front of you to be precise about the times of things that had happened,” Mr Khalil said.

The barrister gave several examples, including that Hammond said in the interview that he ate steak and chips for dinner with Mrs Hammond between 4pm and 5pm.

The officer said that Hammond “was being vague on times, I can say that”.

The trial continues.