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Daisy Donohoe reveals relationship with victim of Sheppey shooting and his killer during trial at Maidstone Crown Court

A mum of two accused of trying to cover up a fatal shooting had once indulged in a threesome with the killer gunman and his victim, a court has heard.

Daisy Donohoe is alleged to have helped her convict lover Jonathan Lawlor “lie low” after he had murdered Sam Petrou, a man he met while both were serving prisoners in HMP Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey.

Daisy Donohoe started a relationship with Lawlor in 2020. Picture: FacebookDaisy Donohoe started a relationship with Lawlor in 2020. Picture: Facebook
Daisy Donohoe started a relationship with Lawlor in 2020. Picture: Facebook

Jurors were told it is the prosecution’s case that 36-year-old Donohoe booked a hotel stay and bought Lawlor clothing so he could evade justice in the aftermath of twice blasting Mr Petrou with a converted blank-firing self-loading pistol on June 10 last year.

The 35-year-old dad had been gunned down in a friend’s caravan at the Cliff Cottage Chalet Park, Isle of Sheppey, 13 months after his sexual encounter with the couple which happened while Lawlor had been on home leave.

Maidstone Crown Court was told the violent crook was subsequently arrested in connection with Mr Petrou’s death and charged, but died while on remand in prison, leaving Donohoe to stand trial alone accused of perverting the course of justice.

As well as the hotel booking and purchases, police also discovered internet searches on her phone on how to obtain Irish passports and flights to Vietnam.

But she denies knowing that her 42-year-old boyfriend, who she had known since early childhood, was responsible for Mr Petrou’s killing.

Giving evidence on Wednesday (March 20), the brunette detailed how during her two-year long relationship with Lawlor he would verbally abuse and bully her, drink and take drugs, and accuse her of cheating.

Donohoe, of Burnell Avenue, Welling, south east London, said he would “track” her movements, had headbutted one of her work colleagues at a Christmas party, and even once slapped her because she had had lip filler.

Daisy Donohoe is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: FacebookDaisy Donohoe is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: Facebook
Daisy Donohoe is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: Facebook

She said she also believed that Lawlor had been responsible for shooting her in the backside while she was asleep in bed a month prior to the killing, and had “sent people” to check she was at her address after she had been bailed in respect of Mr Petrou’s death.

The court heard she and Lawlor had known each other since she was five years old and had a brief relationship in 2005.

But it was in 2020, on finding out he was in prison, that the project administrator wrote to him for what she called “nostalgic” reasons.

Donohoe then started to visit the criminal at Standford Hill and, once he had been transferred to Ford open prison in West Sussex the following year, the relationship rekindled when Lawlor was allowed out on home leave.

Jurors heard it was during such leave in May 2022 that the threesome with Mr Petrou, who had already been released from jail, occurred.

Donohoe described the two men as “friends” and said Mr Petrou, who was nicknamed “Bubble”, was “a nice person and chatty” who she had helped in setting up his construction business.

She told the court the sex between them had been instigated by Lawlor but it was something she had not wanted to do herself.

“Jonathan and I were at home and Sam had been calling, wanting to meet up,” she explained.

“Jonathan invited him to our house, we all had a drink and Jonathan decided he wanted me to perform a sexual act on him in front of Sam.

“He took his trousers down and pushed my head down. It started from there.”

Sam Petrou was found dead in Eastchurch on Sheppey on June 11Sam Petrou was found dead in Eastchurch on Sheppey on June 11
Sam Petrou was found dead in Eastchurch on Sheppey on June 11

Donohoe also detailed two further occasions when Lawlor had wanted her to have sex with other people, recalling how he brought home a woman he met in a gay pub in Greenwich for a threesome. Again, he had been on prison leave at the time.

She also described “breaking down” when he hired a male escort because she had refused to visit a sex club.

But she said he and Mr Petrou, who was from Gillingham, were “fine” after their hook-up and “nothing changed” in the men’s friendship.

“It didn’t seem to bother Jonathan at all,” she added.

Earlier in her trial however, the jury heard that in December 2022, Lawlor shot Mr Petrou with an airgun, and warned that “next time it would be real.”

It was for that reason, it was said, that Mr Petrou then gave his former fellow inmate “a wide berth” until their chance meeting at The Coppice pub in Eastchurch on June 9 last year.

The encounter, captured on CCTV, showed the two men sitting at a garden table, with Lawlor gesticulating at Mr Petrou and becoming animated.

The next evening he was murdered.

One bullet severed his aorta artery and lodged against his backbone while the other passed through his body and ricocheted off a kitchen unit and into the shower room.

Mr Petrou was found dead, slumped on the floor and against a cupboard, on June 11.

Police officers investigating Eastchurch Holiday Centre on Sheppey following Mr Petrou's deathPolice officers investigating Eastchurch Holiday Centre on Sheppey following Mr Petrou's death
Police officers investigating Eastchurch Holiday Centre on Sheppey following Mr Petrou’s death

The gun itself was never recovered but DNA on the bullet casings found at the scene matched Lawlor’s. He was also identified as the shooter from CCTV, and was seen fleeing Sheppey in Donohoe’s Jeep with her in the passenger seat.

The court heard police inquiries revealed the couple had stayed at The Shurland Hotel in Eastchurch High Street the night before the shooting, and then arrived at the Holiday Inn Express in Sittingbourne, just 20 minutes after the killing.

But Donohoe maintained throughout her evidence that when she made the booking and subsequent purchases she had no knowledge of her boyfriend’s crime.

Asked about the allegations that she helped Lawlor to “lie low”, her barrister Icah Peart KC told her: “The Crown’s case is that you perverted the course of public justice, or at least tried to, by doing those two things for Jonathan after you became aware he had shot somebody dead.

“Were you aware that Jonathan had shot Sam Petrou dead?”

Donohoe replied: “No, I wasn’t.”

“Would you have wanted him to shoot Sam Petrou?” Mr Peart continued. “No,” said Donohoe.

“And did you believe that in June 2023 things were so bad between Jonathan Lawlor and Sam Petrou that Jonathan would have wanted him dead?” asked the barrister.

“No,” replied Donohoe.

She also told the court she did not know he had a gun, that nothing happened to make her think he was going to shoot anyone, and was not aware Lawlor had been in regular contact with another woman, sending messages which included one saying “Just done job”.

Donohoe also denied that her decision to give him her phone SIM when she left the Holiday Inn to go home was another attempt to help him “cover his tracks”.

She said she had simply phoned a drink and drug rehabilitation facility for Lawlor and they needed her number in order to call him back.

She also maintained that she had not booked him two extra nights because he had told her he was “lying low”.

Daisy Donohoe is accused of perverting the course of justice after Jonathan Lawlor shot Sam Petrou at a holiday park in Eastchurch. Picture: FacebookDaisy Donohoe is accused of perverting the course of justice after Jonathan Lawlor shot Sam Petrou at a holiday park in Eastchurch. Picture: Facebook
Daisy Donohoe is accused of perverting the course of justice after Jonathan Lawlor shot Sam Petrou at a holiday park in Eastchurch. Picture: Facebook

The court heard that Donohoe, who described herself as being “scared” of her lover and having “fallen out of love” with him, joined Lawlor on the Isle of Sheppey on June 9, planning to stay for just one night.

They met up with his sister Victoria, who had a caravan near the Cliff Cottage site, and drank into the early hours before returning to The Shurland.

The next day – that of the fatal shooting itself – they returned to his sister’s caravan for a barbecue.

Donohoe said she had already decided to stay another night as she was “feeling rough” and therefore made a reservation for her and Lawlor at the Holiday Inn.

But she said there came a point when her boyfriend left his sister’s.

“He just came out (the caravan) and walked straight off past me. He didn’t say a word to me. I felt like crap and thought just let him be. I wasn’t sure where he was going,” she told the court.

The police investigation later revealed this was the moment Lawlor, who was also wanted on prison licence recall at the time, had left to carry out the killing.

Apart from a call from Lawlor when she said he told her he was having a drink at The Coppice, Donohoe said she next heard from her boyfriend when he returned to his sister’s caravan.

“His voice was shaky and angry. He was telling me to come. I started walking across and he came to meet me. He asked for my car keys,” she told the court.

“He seemed a bit on edge but I just thought maybe he had had a bit of cocaine at the pub. I thought he was going to get in the car and wait for me.

“When I got to the car he was in the driver’s seat. He just told me to get in.”

Lawlor then drove them away from Sheppey and to the Holiday Inn. “He was on edge and not driving very well at all,” continued Donohoe.

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“I just thought it was the drink and the drugs. I asked if he was OK but he didn’t really give much of a response and I didn’t want to distract him because he was driving pretty bad as it was.”

She denied that during the journey he told her he had “done the job” and they needed to “get away quickly”.

Once at the hotel, Donohoe checked them in before joining her lover in the bar and then retiring to their room.

The next morning she told the court she woke to see Lawlor sitting in a chair and “not particularly talkative”.

Although she had decided to return home, she booked two more nights for him “to give him extra time to sleep”, Donohoe explained. She said they then looked up rehab facilities, phoning one in Snowdon, before she went shopping to buy him clothes at his request because “he was in no fit state to go anywhere”.

Before setting off for home, she also bought him two bottles of wine. “He said he was going to chill out and drink,” she explained.

The court heard Donohoe drove home and went out that evening for dinner with her family.

“Did you know that he (Lawlor) had killed Sam Petrou?” asked Mr Peart. “No,” she replied. “Were you, in booking that hotel and buying him clothing, seeking him to help him evade justice?”, he asked, to which Donohoe again said: “No.”

Despite the extended booking at the Holiday Inn, Lawlor left after one night and, having been picked up in a van, was driven to London.

From there he travelled by train to Newcastle where he was arrested on June 15. The court heard he died in prison in October.

Donohoe denies perverting the course of justice between June 9 and June 12 last year and her trial continues.

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