In this special edition, the Ambridge Observer reports on dramatic events in Borchester Crown Court yesterday and reactions in Ambridge as Helen Titchener walked free from custody, acquitted on the charge of attempting to murder her husband Rob.
• Rob Titchener’s father Bruce had to be helped from the court after suffering what witnesses described as ‘a terrifying outburst’ of rage. ‘The longer the jury deliberated, the worse he got,’ said one. ‘He turned purple, his eyes were bulging, and he was snorting like a wild boar. When the verdict was finally announced, we thought he was going to explode. Paramedics were called, but his wife Ursula said she could calm him with a toad-in-the-hole she’d packed just in case.’
• Helen Titchener’s mother Pat Archer said the family were ‘absolutely over the moon and delighted’ with the verdict. ‘Thank goodness – in the end it didn’t matter that I was completely useless from start to finish in this case,’ she said. ‘Of course, we now have a fight on our hands to ensure Henry and Jack stay with Helen. I’ll just have to hope I don’t mess that up as well.’
• Neil Carter, chairman of Ambridge Parish Council, said Helen Titchener would be warmly welcomed back to the village. ‘Contrary to your report in last week’s paper, I did give evidence as a character witness for Helen,’ he said. ‘I just spoke very quietly and wore a wig so my wife Susan wouldn’t notice; she wasn’t keen, you see.’
• Mr Carter’s wife Susan said the verdict was exactly what she had expected. ‘I always knew Helen would only do such a terrible thing in self-defence and that Rob would turn out to be an evil bully – I’ve said so all along,’ she said. ‘We can now put it all behind us and I can carry on working for Pat and Tony and forget I ever said Rob was a hero and Helen was a bit, well you know… troubled.’
• Shula Hebden Lloyd described her reaction to the verdict as ‘bitter sweet’. ‘Of course, I’m delighted for Helen, but so many questions still remain about how appallingly I behaved, not speaking out about Rob sooner,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t even perjure myself properly. I thought I couldn’t torment myself any more about this, but I’m pleased to say I can.’
• Brian Aldridge of Home Farm said his family were celebrating the news with an impromptu champagne pool party. 'We're all thrilled,' he said. 'Although Adam has a face like a wet weekend. You'd think he'd be delighted that Rob might not be his new boss after all. But ever since Ian appeared in court you'd think a drone had crash-landed on his polytunnel.'
• Justin Elliott, chairman of Damara Capital, who last month appointed Rob Titchener as his estates manager, was unavailable. His office said he was in intense discussions with his social secretary and would be issuing a statement when they had worked out a position they were both comfortable with.
• Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) said he was ‘relieved’ by the result. ‘In my evidence I had to report what I saw on the night of the attack, which certainly seemed more helpful to the prosecution,’ he said. ‘My partner Fallon, who is Helen’s friend, was upset by this and it was affecting our relationship – let’s just say things were getting a bit frosty in the bedroom department. But since the jury’s verdict we’ve been making up for lost time. It hasn’t done much for my conviction rate, but who cares?’
• The Crown Prosecution Service said it was conducting an ‘urgent review’ of the case in the light of the rape allegations made against Mr Titchener by his wife Helen and his ex-wife Jessica Myers.
‘We stand by our decision to prosecute Mrs Titchener,’ said a spokesperson. ‘Though to be honest, off the record, our QC Michael Bywater wasn’t exactly devastated by the result. He’d had a taste of Rob Titchener’s temper and said he had a feeling he might be a wrong ’un. If we were to see Mr Titchener in the dock instead of the witness box one day it would be extra fig rolls all round here at the CPS.’
Don't miss next week’s Ambridge Observer! In a Flower and Produce Show special, we report on the controversial new category: ‘Make a vehicle out of vegetables’.