Friend tells court of night hairdresser was killed

Katrina O'Hara. Picture: contributed
Katrina O'Hara. Picture: contributed

A COLLEAGUE of a hairdresser allegedly murdered by her former lover told a court that he ran away the night she died fearing he would be hurt.

James Young said he regretted he could not do more to help mother-of-three Katrina O’Hara, who was allegedly stabbed by Stuart Thomas.

He was up against her and she had her back to the car. When I shouted oi, he stopped

James Young

Mr Young was closing Jocks Barbers with Miss O’Hara, originally from Bangour in West Lothian, on January 7 this year when she was approached by Thomas outside the shop. He said he first heard shouts outside then Miss O’Hara ran past saying “he has a knife”.

Mr Young fled when he thought Thomas was walking towards him and went to a takeaway shop two doors down from the barbers to call police, who arrived to find Miss O’Hara dead.

Thomas, 49, is alleged to have followed Miss O’Hara, a mother-of-three, into the barber shop before stabbing her twice in the chest with a kitchen knife he had taken from his marital home. After knifing Miss O’Hara, the married father-of-four is alleged to have left the shop and cut his own left wrist with the same knife.

Mr Young said he approached the back doors of the shop after Miss O’Hara had gone for a cigarette and he could hear a male and female voice.

He said: “The only thing I could hear being said was the man shouting ‘I just want to talk, I just want to talk’.

“Katrina was speaking but I couldn’t understand what she was saying. He said ‘I just want to talk, I just want to talk’ twice in a row. She didn’t interrupt it. She was saying something after that or maybe before but I couldn’t understand what she was saying because of her Scottish accent.

“I shouted step away or come away. I said it because she obviously did not want to be there. I don’t know why I said that, that was just what I said at the time. I was not thinking along the lines of calming them down, it was just something I said. I shouted and he let her go. I told her to come away, to step away. I didn’t really know what to say.

“I could see there was contact between them. He stood in front with his arms up. It looked to me like she was struggling. She didn’t have a hold of him. He was up against her and she had her back to the car.

“When I shouted ‘oi’ he stopped and stepped to the side and faced me. Katrina then ran down past me and he came in the same direction.

“I didn’t see her when I turned and ran. The man was coming toward me when I turned and ran. I felt at the time he showed an interest in me.”

William Mousley, defending Thomas, asked Mr Young: “Do you feel any sense of regret that you did not do any more to help?” Mr Young replied: “Yes.”

Thomas, of Blandford, Dorset, denies murdering Miss O’Hara. The trial continues.