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Woman bludgeoned her next-door neighbour to death with a garden spade as witnesses looked on in horror

Debby Foxwell killed her next-door neighbour with a spade Credit: Hertfordshire Police

A woman who bludgeoned her next door neighbour to death with a garden space has been found guilty of murder.

Debby Foxwell, 41, lived in Fordwich Road in Welwyn Garden City next door to former Lib Dem councillor Louise Lotz, 64.

A court heard that the two women had developed a deep hatred and distrust of one another over the years they had been neighbours and that they had both been issued with community protection warnings, in a bid to stop them from trespassing, taking photos and harrassing each other.

On the day of the murder, August 24 last year, the two women had argued about a garden fence.
Louise called the police, and said that Foxwell was cutting her garden plants without her permission.

Police attended and spoke to both of the women, but found that no offence had taken place and left.

Later that evening, Foxwell used a mobile phone to record Louise in her garden. When Louise realised, she grabbed the phone and ran into her house.

Foxwell, who had worked in cancer research, then ran into the Louise's garden, armed with a spade and smashed her way into the house. She slammed the spade through a television and furniture in Louise's living room and chased her out of the house.

When she caught up with her, she began repeatedly hitting Louise in the head with the side of the spade.

Louise Lotz was a former Welwyn Hatfield councillor Credit: Hertfordshire Police

Neighbours looked on and shouted and pleaded for Foxwell to stop battering Louise with the garden tool.

Foxwell is believed to have just walked away after killing Louise, and say "I've done it" to her partner.

Ambulances and police were called and Louise was pronounced dead at the scene.

Foxwell was arrested immediately.

Today, a jury at St Albans Crown Court found Debby Foxwell guilty of murder.

She had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.

Detective Inspector Iain MacPherson, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said:

“This was a nasty, brutal attack for which there was no excuse. Neighbours who saw the attack pleaded for Foxwell to stop but she continued.

“My thoughts are with Louise’s family and friends and I hope that today’s result helps to give them some closure so they can attempt to rebuild their lives.”

– Detective Inspector Iain MacPherson
  • Watch video of Debby Foxwell's police interview after her arrest:

In a statement, Louise’s family said:

“Louise was a loving mother, sister and grandmother. Her death has come as a shock to us all, we will miss her dearly.

“We are still trying to come to terms with this tragic loss and the circumstances surrounding it, we ask that our privacy is respected at this time.”

– Louise's family

Foxwell will appear for sentencing on Friday 20 March.