Norfolk: Woman, 44, found guilty of trying to hire hitman on dark web after fling
A woman who attempted to hire a hitman to kill a work colleague has been convicted of soliciting murder.
Helen Hewlett, 44, of King’s Lynn in Norfolk, paid £17,000 as a deposit on a website which advertised contract killers, reported the BBC.
The court heard how the intended victim was a 50-year-old colleague whom she had become infatuated with after a brief fling while they both worked together at the Linda McCartney Frozen Food factory.
Jurors heard how Hewlett placed an order on the dark web saying she needed someone killed, stressing it was “vital it looks like an accident”.
During the trial, Paul Belton said Hewlett became obsessed with him and bombarded him with emails and texts over a period of two years until August 2022.
He moved jobs to a nearby chocolate factory, which Hewlett also managed to secure a job at.
The court heard while there, Hewlett accused him of harassment, homophobia and racial abuse - which was dismissed by the firm, who told him to go to the police.
Mr Belton told the court he went to the police because “I just wanted it to stop. I just wanted to be left alone.”
The court heard how she gave the site Mr Belton’s home and work address and other personal details.
In a police interview, Hewlett said she had not intended for the killing to go ahead and claimed it was a way of venting anger.
Prosecutors said after placing the ad, the mum-of-five searched for news articles about fatal accidents.
Detective Inspector Paul Morton said: “This has been a very complex and technical trial with a huge amount of information to consider.
“This is a rare type of offence and it just shows the dark web is still not a safe place for criminals to hide."
Hewlett was cleared of stalking, involving fear or violence to cause serious alarm or distress, but she was found guilty of a lesser charge of stalking, without serious alarm or distress, between January 2021 and August 2022.
She is due to be sentenced in April.