A WOMAN who helped a killer remain at large for two days after the offence is now behind bars herself.

Eleanor Louise Helen Pearce picked up Josh Johnson, in Coxhoe, near Durham, on August 3, 2016, and helped him to evade police for the following 48 hours.

Durham Crown Court was told earlier Johnson had fatally stabbed 32-year-old Dale Arnold, in a street near his home in the neighbouring village of Kelloe.

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Ian West, prosecuting, said amid the police manhunt for Johnson, inquiries indicated he was picked up in Coxhoe after the killing and spent the next two nights in hotels in Gilesgate, Durham, and Whickham, Gateshead, where he and Pearce were arrested, on August 5.

A search of her car, outside the hotel, recovered store till receipts for purchases of toiletries, underwear and a mobile phone, made over the previous two days.

Mr West said Pearce gave no replies to police questioning, but, the 32-year-old former computer systems manager, of The Broadway, Chester-le-Street, later admitted assisting an offender.

Johnson, 19, of Middlewood, Ushaw Moor, went on to be jailed for eight years and nine months, after admitting manslaughter, while Jodie Iceton, 22, of Taylor Avenue, Bearpark, a passenger in Pearce’s car, was cleared of assisting an offender after a trial in December.

Ian Finlay, mitigating, said Pearce previously led an offence-free life, with her only cautions, for cocaine possession, arising from her arrest.

Mr Finlay said her life took a turn for the worse in 2016 when she was made redundant from her well-paid job and decided to leave it a few months before resuming her search for work.

“That turned out to be an extremely bad decision. Having lost her previous social and professional stability she fell in with a different range of people.”

Mr Finlay said she had “no idea” what had taken place when she was called and asked to pick up Johnson.

Even when he told her he had stabbed someone she did not believe it until she read of it, on social media.

“That is when she should have stopped it and told him to get out,” added Mr Finlay.

Jailing her for a year, Recorder Ian Atherton told Pearce she helped Johnson remain, “beyond the reach of the law,” for two days.