Man admits killing ‘gifted’ York student Bethany Fields

A 36-year-old man has admitted killing a “gifted” University of York student who died from stab wounds.

Paul Crowther, 35, denied murder but pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter of 21-year-old Bethany Fields last September.

Crowther, who appeared at Leeds Crown Court, spoke only to confirm his name and enter his pleas.

He is accused of killing Bethany, an environmental geography student at the university, in what police described as a “domestic-related incident” in Huddersfield town centre.

Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, told the court he expected the Crown Prosecution Service to make a decision whether to accept Crowther’s pleas within two weeks.

A further court case has been scheduled for August 21 where Crowther will either stand trial or face sentencing.

Mr Sharp said: “This is a highly sensitive and emotional case.

“The Crown has received its second report and I ask for 14 days for the crown to make clear its position. At the moment, we have no intention to get any further reports.”

Judge Tom Bayliss QC extended Crowther’s custody and told him: “You will be brought back before the court on August 21.”

Bethany, from Leeds, West Yorks, was found seriously injured in Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield, on Thursday, September 12 last year.

Emergency services rushed to the scene but she was pronounced dead by paramedics.

An inquest has heard she died after suffering numerous stab wounds.

Bethany’s relatives were in the public gallery during the brief hearing and told the judge they expected to be present when the case comes before the court again.

In a statement released via the police after her death, her heartbroken family said: “The life of Bethany, who was a beautiful, talented, ambitious, intelligent, kind, giving, and loving daughter, was tragically taken from her.

“A daughter, who any parent would have been proud of, much loved and respected by all; family, friends, work colleagues and fellow students. Bethany had a bright future ahead of her.”

“She was studying Environmental Geography at university, travelling to Iceland to study the effects of glacial melts on the environment and to the Canary Islands to study volcanoes.

“She was musically gifted, starting on a music mentoring course and gradually during the holidays working at a studio.

“More recently, she worked with a charitable organisation for people with physical and learning difficulties. Through this, she brought much joy and pleasure into other people’s lives.

“Bethany had a wonderfully pleasant nature, with a love of nature, plants and animals.

“She will be sadly missed, but never forgotten, forever in our hearts and thoughts.”

At the time of Bethany’s death Prof Mark E Hodson, head of the department of environment and geography at the University of York, said: “It was with great sadness that we heard the news of Beth’s untimely death.

“Beth had just completed her second year in environmental geography. She was an enthusiastic and committed student and popular with her classmates.

“She was a warm-hearted, kind student with a gift for communication. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

York Press | News