UPDATE: Natalie Hemming murder trial - friend gives evidence

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The best friend of Natalie Hemming told the court yesterday (Weds) that Hemming attacked her just days before killing her.

Rebecca Hornsby had known Natalie Hemming for around nine years ago after their eldest children went to school together.

She was also the godmother of the couple’s youngest daughter at her Christening in February this year.

Hemming was not present for this which caused the couple to temporarily split.

Miss Hornsby told the jury: “She had told me that they had an argument one night and that she told Paul that Simon fancied her at work.”

She said she thought this was a “stupid idea” because “I knew it would anger him”.

The court heard that Natalie and Simon exchanged texts and WhatsApp messages in the days leading up to her death.

During these Miss Hemming confided that she planned on leaving her partner.

Miss Hornsby said on April 24 Natalie told her: “I am sick of it, I can do anything right and I am so unhappy.”

The next day she told her friend “I have done it” and “he is selling the house”.

At around 10pm that day she said: “He is trying to change my mind.”

Natalie later told Miss Hornsby: “He (Hemming) is threatening to come to work and cause sh*t, he is begging to get back together.”

On April 26, she said: “He went for me last night.”

Miss Hornsby asked what happened and she said: “Fu*king nob grabbed my arm and twisted it behind my back”.

Miss Hornsby asked if she was OK. She said: “Yea, fu*king di*k. He then threatened to kill himself and drove off.”

On April 30, after meeting Mr Dennis, Miss Hemming sent another series of messages to Miss Hornsby, the court heard.

In one she said: “He took me to Jamie’s restaurant in St Albans, got me flowers and we stayed in St Michael’s Manor Hotel, it’s well posh.

“The room was amazing.”

She added: “We had sex three times”. After she arrived home later that day she said: “At home now, my legs are so sore.”

The court was played a recording of three rambling phone calls Hemming made to Miss Hornsby on the evening of May 3.

Miss Hornsby said she was suspicious of these phone calls and got her partner Greg to record them using his phone.

During the calls Hemming pretended to have no idea where his partner is, saying she left their home suddenly.

He said his partner was annoyed at him not “pulling his weight” in the house and had gone away for a week to clear her head.

In it he said: “(She said) I do not want to split up with you. I am going to have to take a week away from you.”

He continued:”I just said do what you have to do and we will see you when we see you.”

Miss Hornsby said that a later phone call, Hemming said that his partner had told her she had been raped by Mr Dennis from work and had decided to leave to get some space.

During the conversation Hemming said: “I have no idea where she is.”

He added: “I cannot think she she has gone, it is really, really weird.”

Hemming also said his partner had been to the doctor and been prescribed anti-depressants, something which the court heard is untrue.

On April 30, Miss Hemming spent the night at the hotel and had lunch in St Albans before Mr Dennis dropped her off at her mother’s house in Hemel Hempstead.

The sexual activity the pair had in the hotel on the evening of April 30 was consensual, according to Mr Dennis.

In a message sent to Mr Dennis by an unknown number which later turned out to be Hemming he said: “Me and Natalie had a long chat about you last night.

“She told me everything that has happened, you managed to turn her head, well done.

“We are going to make a fresh start for us and the kids so back off.”

He sent Miss Hemming a WhatsApp message at 10pm on May 2, the day after she was murdered, saying: “Are you OK? Just need to know that and I will leave you be?”

Hemming denies murder.

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, continues.