Wednesday 26 September 2018

'Bunny boiler' who used a stun gun to kill love rival jailed for life

Sarah Williams has been jailed for life. Photo: Lancashire Police/PA Wire
Sarah Williams has been jailed for life. Photo: Lancashire Police/PA Wire
Katrina Walsh has been jailed for life. Photo: Lancashire Police/PA Wire
Sadie Hartley with Ian Johnston. Photo: Family handout/PA Wire

A murderer described as a "bunny boiler" spent years taking revenge on the married lovers who spurned her, even faked her own kidnap and sex attack to cover up an illicit encounter, according to friends.

Lifelong fantasist Sarah Williams was jailed for life for killing her love rival, businesswoman Sadie Hartley, by attacking her with a 500,000-volt stun gun and stabbing her more than 40 times on the doorstep of her home in Helmshore, Lancashire, on January 14.

A jury convicted Williams and her friend Katrina Walsh, both from Chester, of murdering mother-of-two Ms Hartley.


The pair spent more than 18 months plotting the "perfect murder" after jealous Williams could not handle the break-up of her relationship with Ms Hartley's partner, retired firefighter Ian Johnston.

Williams' attention-seeking began aged 13, when she sparked a nationwide manhunt after telling police she had been abducted.

She told detectives her kidnapper locked her in the boot of a car and drove her to a house, where she was sexually assaulted.

Those who knew Williams claimed the kidnap was a work of fiction to hide the fact she had disappeared with a married man.

Phil Jones, the owner of Wirral Riding Centre where she used to frequent, said: "She was a total fantasist. She was seeing a married guy."

Williams continued to ride at the equestrian centre along with her accomplice, Walsh.

Just months before striking up a relationship with Johnston, Williams' behaviour with a ski instructor mirrored what was to come.

Between June 2011 and April 2012, Williams had an affair with Somapat Sitiwitjana (47).

When he ended their affair, she visited his wife, Janet, at their home in May 2012 and told her about the affair.

Two weeks later, she sent a letter detailing their relationship to her and pretended she was pregnant, and even sent a fake scan picture.

After months of harassment, his wife reported Williams to the police.

Friends of Williams described her as a "bunny boiler" and she spoke of herself as a "psycho" and a "she-devil".

It was during this time that she met Mr Johnston.

Mr Johnston ended the relationship after a few months when she became "heavy and clingy" and "obsessive", before rekindling his relationship with his long-term partner Ms Hartley.

But, in September 2014, jealous Williams sent Ms Hartley a letter claiming they had been having an affair.

Mr Johnston denied this and he and Ms Hartley then moved in together.

It was at this point that Williams recruited Walsh to help plot the murder. Williams drove to Ms Hartley's home and brutally stabbed her more than 40 times. Walsh was also jailed for life.

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