Exeter murder trial: Heartbreaking 999 call gives 'hope for human nature amidst tragedy'


An audio recording of a 999 made by a passer-by who found Exeter woman Lorna England dying on the ground has been released by police. The heart-rending call was made just moments after the 74-year-old was stabbed through the heart by killer Cameron Davis.

At about 3:55pm on February 18, 2023, Sarah Hurst was walking her dog and heading towards a small bridge when she saw a man and a woman in front of her by the river.

She thought something was odd about their movements and the man appeared to be blocking the woman's path. She heard the woman cry out in pain and fall to the ground.

"I thought they knew each other," she tells the call handler. "There was a bit of a tussle. I saw her fall to the ground."

Fearing the woman was hurt she walked towards the scene and briefly spoke to Cameron Davis. He told her the woman had suffered a fit and needed help. Then he walked away.

Lorna died at the scene from a fatal stab wound to the chest that penetrated 12cm. In her final moments she was comforted by Sarah who remained at the scene until medics arrived. She stroked her hair, held her hand and told her it would be all right.

At the end of the trial the judge said it had been "an awful, awful, case" which tapped into people's fears of being attacked by a random stranger. But she praised the actions of Sarah and others.

She said: "There are moments in every trial that give you hope for human nature amidst the catastrophic and tragic circumstances."

Lorna England
Ludwell Valley Park crime scene

"This had been one of the most shocking and brutal killings. The killing of a member of the public walking through the park by a complete stranger taps into some very human fears. It was a tragedy for the England family."

The family of Lorna, a much-loved wife and grandmother, also thanked the witness "who was brave enough to risk her own life" to stay with Lorna as her life slipped away.

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