PROSTITUTE Emma Bate told murder trial jurors she never intended any harm to come to her "sugar daddy" Richard Sherratt.

The 26-year-old hooker stole Mr Sherratt's bank cards during a midnight robbery at his flat in Bridgnorth and within minutes was using them to withdraw cash.

But, giving evidence in her defence to a charge of murder, she told Stafford Crown Court that she never touched the former Stourbridge businessman the night he died.

Bate's boyfriend, Paramjit Singh - known as Dave - has already pleaded guilty to murdering the wealthy property developer.

Both of them went to Mr Sherratt's Bridgnorth flat on June 14 last year, Bate said, to "borrow" money from the man who had showered her with gifts and cash.

She said she used a key Mr Sherratt had given her to enter the flat. She went in to the bedroom and switched on the light.

Bate, aged 26, of Gladstone Street, Birmingham, told the court: "Richard looked startled. I asked to borrow some money, I said 'can I borrow £600 or £700?' and he told me he hadn't got none in an arsy way. He didn't seem too happy.

"I seen his wallet at the side of the bed so I walked round and started taking cards out. I checked to see if there was any money and there wasn't.

"He [Sherratt] went to try and grab my arm to stop me and Dave pulled him back by the shoulders. Richard went on his back."

Bate added she didn't touch Mr Sherratt, she flung the wallet back on the cabinet and went to the bank and used the stolen bank cards.

She said she withdrew £70 from one account and £500 from another, then went back to a car driven by Michael Smith, aged 51, of Horton Street, Tipton, to smoke a crack pipe. Singh wasn't in the car, so she went in to the flat to get him.

Her barrister, David Mason QC, asked her; "What did you see?"

"Dave getting off Richard. Richard was lying on the bed and there was blood all over the bed."

"Did you think Richard was dead?" "No. He wasn't moving."

"Did you say anything to Dave?"

"I asked him what was going on. He couldn't really speak, he looked shocked. I said 'what the f***'s gone on."

"Were you concerned for Richard?" "Yes. I panicked."

The court heard Bate grabbed the deceased's iPad bag and a bag containing cider and left the flat. She and Singh got in to Smith's car and drove to the HSBC cashpoint in Bridgnorth. Bate withdrew a further £200 there.

Mr Mason: "We know your boyfriend had murdered Richard. Did you know that? Did you have any suspicion that's what had happened?" "No," replied Bate.

In cross-examination prosecution barrister Peter Grieves-Smith asked what she had done to help Mr Sherratt: "Nothing - I did care but I didn't think he was dead, I thought he would be all right.

"I wanted to phone the ambulance or leave the door open so someone would go in and help him," but she then admitted she had not left the door open.

Mr Grieves-Smith: "When you went shopping the next day, did you care one jot about Richard?" "No," replied Bate.

Bate denies a charge of murder, but admits robbing and defrauding Mr Sherratt, Smith, denies robbing and defrauding Mr Sherratt.

The jury is expected to retire to consider their verdict tomorrow (Wednesday January 30).

Defence closing statement - Bate dishonest and dirty but no murderer

"Dishonest, disgraceful, dirty, mean, unforgivable": words used to describe prostitute Emma Bate - by her own defence barrister.

In his closing speech, David Mason QC for Bate, told the jury that murder victim Richard Sherratt was "a warm hearted and generous man, with his time, affection and money.

"This was a man who didn't deserve to be treated the way he was.
"His nice, calm, respectable world suddenly clashed with a world he was totally unfamiliar with. Two worlds at the opposite end of the social spectrum.

"Emma Bate has admitted she was a dishonest woman who would steal to pay for her drugs. She tried to blackmail Richard Sherratt. How deeply unattractive is that?

"All this behaviour is utterly disgraceful; mean, dishonest, dirty, unforgivable behaviour. But all of that doesn't make her a murderer," said Mr Mason.
"We are not trying Emma Bate for robbery, stealing and using bank cards. She has admitted all of that. There is a huge leap from being a robber to being a murderer.

"Dave (Paramjit Singh) has accepted what he's done - it doesn't mean Emma Bate is guilty of the same murder or that she had anything to do with the murder.

"Of course she had ripped Richard off and taken more money than she was supposed to, but she has said to you that she never, ever wanted to hurt him."

Earlier, in his closing speech, told the jury that Mr Sherratt had "excellent judgement about business - not so good when it came to people.

"For Bate, Mr Sherratt must have been the dream client, but she was prepared to betray his trust to steal from him and blackmail him.

" 'I would do anything to fund my crack habit, that's what drugs do to you'. Those are the words of Emma Bate. Those words tell you about her need for money...And it was her need for money that brought her and Singh to Old School Mews on 14 June."

Prosecution counsel Peter Grieves-Smith told the jurors there were two bases on which they could convict Bate of murder: either she was somebody physically taking part in the violence, or somebody jointly involved in the plan.

He told the court there were a number of questions to be answered:

"Did Paramjit Singh inflict violence all on his own?

"Is he a leader - or a follower? That's important in relation to Bate in terms of who planned it.

"Why go there [Mr Sherratt's flat] at a time of night when she knew there was a high chance he would be asleep?" It made a mockery of her claim that she went there to borrow money.

"Who made the decision to bring a knife? Who was carrying it and what happened to it afterwards?

"Smith was the getaway driver. He had to be trusted not to drive off and leave them stranded if he found out what they were up to. We suggest he couldn't have been blind and he knew the plan before the robbery and agreed to do it," alleged Mr Grieves-Smith.