Charity worker killed by former inmate she had a relationship with, jury told

A former charity worker who worked with released prisoners was stabbed to death by an ex-inmate she had begun a relationship with, a jury has heard.

Michaela Hall, 49, was stabbed through the eye by Lee Kendall, 42, in a bedroom of her house in the Cornish village of Mount Hawke, Truro crown court was told. The court heard that Hall, a mother of two, was the victim of a number of assaults before she was killed, but declined to pursue prosecutions against Kendall.

Jurors were told that on the night of the alleged murder, Hall was talking to a friend in Gran Canaria, who heard her screaming as if she was in a “movie” and shouting: “Lee, stop Lee, get off me.”

The friend managed to alert the UK authorities and police went to the house three times over the next 24 hours but did not see any sign of a disturbance and did not force an entry. Hall’s father, Peter, finally got a spare key from the landlord and found her body in the bedroom.

Jo Martin QC, prosecuting, said Hall had given up her job as an air cabin crew member to move to Cornwall, where her family lived. She had worked for two charities who helped prisoners when they were released from jail.

But Martin said: “Sadly, Michaela’s personality type was unsuited for the role. She got too involved and got too close. She genuinely wanted to help, but she could not recognise the importance of professional boundaries.”

She was assigned as support worker to Kendall, who had a drug problem, and picked him up from prison when he was freed in March 2019. But a month later she lost her post because it was discovered she had started a relationship with Kendall, who moved into her home.

Martin said they had a “complex relationship” and Hall tried to help and save him. But she added: “It wasn’t long before the violence started. She was seen with black eyes on numerous times, but refused to get help. Violence was a routine feature of the relationship.”

The police were called on a number of occasions. Kendall admitted some attacks, and was given a three-year community order by a judge.

But at the end of May 2021, Kendall allegedly carried out the fatal attack. Martin told the jury: “He killed her by stabbing her through the eye with a knife. There is no doubt that he did kill Michaela Hall.”

She said that after he was arrested, Kendall claimed Hall had lunged at him with a knife and she accidentally sustained a stab wound to the eye during the struggle.

A postmortem revealed she had other facial and neck wounds consistent with manual strangulation – and Kendall’s DNA was found on her neck. The cause of death was recorded as a stab wound to the eye socket and brain, with other injuries also present.

Kendall denies murder and his trial continues.

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