South Yorkshire murder accused ‘was in debt’

Chantelle Barnsdale-Quean, who was murdered in Barnsley
Chantelle Barnsdale-Quean, who was murdered in Barnsley
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A man accused of murdering his wife - then trying to make it look like she’d taken her own life - was plagued by debts, a court heard.

Two bin bags full of unopened mail, finance agreements and court judgements were found by Stephen Barnsdale-Quean’s mother-in-law in the attic of the home he shared with his wife Chantelle.

Chantelle’s mum, Sue Benson, found the bags after Barnsdale-Quean drove himself to hospital following a self-harming incident.

Barnsdale-Quean, aged 42, of Upperwood Road, Darfield, Barnsley, denies murdering Chantelle, aged 35, on March 4.

In a statement read to Sheffield Crown Court, Mrs Benson said the couple’s relationship was good but by 2011 Barnsdale-Quean had got into debt.

She said: “I was extremely angry and told him he needed to sort his finances.”

She said he swore at her and told her it was ‘none of her business’ and asked her to get out of their house.

The couple had met at Hawthorne Lodge nursing home in Sheffield in 1999 where they both worked. He was a chef and she was an administrator. They married in July 2003 and had two daughters, Abigail and Isobel, now seven and five.

But the court heard the couple were evicted from their home and had a car repossessed.

Chantelle’s brother Adam Quean told the jury the couple’s relationship was initially harmonious but in later years it deteriorated.

He said: “Their relationship was a bit more fractious and they were arguing about money, but there was no violence or anything.”

Asked if he recalled his sister pushing Quean down the stairs in 2005 and breaking his ribs, he said he couldn’t recall.

Stuart Benson, Chantelle’s stepfather, said the couple borrowed £20,000 from Chantelle’s gran and hadn’t paid it back.

Chantelle’s friend Claire Pears said she’d seen her go from ‘a happy bubbly person’ to ‘a nervous wreck’.

The trial continues.