A Sleaford area woman walked free from court today (Thursday) after she was cleared of assisting in the suicide of her best friend.
Amelia Caller, 22, from Great Hale, nodded her head gently forward as the jury of eight men and four women returned a not guilty verdict after two days of deliberations.
Miss Caller, who stood trial for eight days at Lincoln Crown Court, was then told she was free to leave the glass panelled dock by the trial judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave.
It was alleged Miss Caller, known to her friends and family as Milly, bought the item which her best friend, Emma Crossman, 21, used to kill herself.
Miss Caller, then just 21, was questioned by police just hours after discovering Miss Crossman’s body at her terrace home in Leicester Street, Sleaford, on the morning of January 15, 2014.
At trial, the prosecution alleged Miss Caller was ‘obsessed and infatuated’ with Miss Crossman and bought the item with which she took her life out of ‘misguided loyalty’.
But the jury heard Miss Caller suffered from a personality disorder which made her ‘exceptionally timid’ and did not want Miss Crossman to die.
The prosecution had relied on dozens of text and Facebook messages exchanged between the two women in which they alleged Miss Caller provided encouragement for her friend.
They included a series of Facebook messages in the final hour before the suicide in which Miss Crossman revealed she was trying the item and Miss Caller offered to look after her pet cat.
In earlier messages, Miss Caller also suggested the pair have ‘one final day out for best friends’ and told Miss Crossman ‘I keep thinking what kind of mate murders her own best friend’.
But defence barrister, Michael Cranmer-Brown, argued none of Miss Caller’s replies were ‘proactive’ in encouraging Miss Crossman actions and those on the night of the suicide were not relevant to when the item was bought two days before.
The jury heard Miss Caller’s laptop had also visited an article titled: “What can I do to help someone who may be suicidal?” There was also a link to the Samaritans.
Giving evidence herself on day four of the trial, Miss Calller insisted she did not want or believe that her friend would commit suicide.
Miss Caller told the jury: “I never intentionally tried to help her. I never wanted her dead and I never thought she would do it.”
The two women had been close best friends for at least five years.
Miss Caller told the jury Emma suffered from depression which worsened following the breakdown of a long term relationship with Adrian Kemp, a 56-year-old tattoo artist.
“I didn’t have a problem with Adrian Kemp at the beginning but my opinion changed after a while. He wasn’t very nice to her,” Miss Caller explained.
“She reacted badly to the break up. She was angry, upset, hurt, everything really. I told her he wasn’t very nice to her most of the time. I told her she needed time to get over him and she would feel better
“I would look to distract her and try and find something for her to do. Make food or try to go on days out. I tried to take her out and cheer her up a bit.”
Miss Caller told the jury that she arrived at Emma’s home in Sleaford on the morning of January 15 last year to discover her body in the living room.
She said “I was shocked and scared. She’d gone. I’d lost my best mate. I didn’t know what to do. I rang for an ambulance then I tried to do CPR.”
Amelia Caller, 22, of Heckington Road, Great Hale, denied encouraging or assisting in the suicide of Emma Crossman between January 12 and 15, 2014 in a charge brought under the 1961 Suicide Act.
After the verdict, outside the court Miss Caller’s sister Fiona, 26, said: “As a family we are relieved at the verdict we have been longing for although we don’t see this as a celebration. Milly can now move on with her life and grieve properly for her best friend Emma. Now Emma’s family know the truth. It’s a relief. We will remain friends with them.
“In our view this shouldn’t have ever got to court. Milly is the nicest person you will ever meet. She is such a sweet thing.”
Carol Thompson, Amelia’s mother, added: “We’re very glad that the jury saw how things were. Milly has always had problems. It’s not her fault.”
When the brief statement was read out Milly was asked for her reaction and simply replied “I don’t know what to say.”
- Support on issues relating to suicide is available from the Samaritans available round-the-clock on 08457 90 90 90 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org