A WOMAN who sent a sex photo with her boyfriend to her ex-partner who went on to murder his love rival has admitted "encouraging or assisting the commission" of an offence.

The Northern Echo:

David Jeet Saunders, left, was reacting to an intimate photograph of his estranged partner with Michael Lawson, right, when the two men clashed in Geneva Road in the summer. Picture: DURHAM POLICE

Sarah Bramley, 29, of Langdale Road, Darlington, will be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court next month and faces a maximum of six months behind bars.

In December, her former boyfriend David Saunders, 33, was jailed for 22 and a half years after he admitted murdering Michael Lawson, 34, in Geneva Road, Darlington.

After performing the sex act on Mr Lawson and sending a picture of it in message to Saunders, she is said to have slapped her lover and ordered him out of her home.

In another text message, the former law student said: "He is outside the house, feel free to give him a bat."

Mr Lawson was stabbed to death in the early hours of June 30 last year.

The charge to which Bramley pleaded guilty, in full, is: "Encouraging or assisting the commission of one of more offences, believing one or more would be committed."

The Northern Echo:

Sarah Bramley, 29, of Langdale Road, Darlington. Picture: North News

The particulars of the offence are: "Between June 29 and July 2, 2017, you sent David Jeet Saunders a photograph of yourself engaged in a sex act with Michael Lawson, who you then put out into the street from your home, and told David Jeet Saunders, who to your knowledge had made repeated threats of violence against Mr Lawson, to feel free to assault him, such conduct being capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of one or more of a number of offences, namely common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, the infliction of grievous bodily harm, believing that one or more of those offences would be committed and that your act would assist in the commission of one or more offence."

Bramley pleaded guilty on the basis that she believed Saunders would commit the least serious of the offences - common assault.

She will be sentenced in the week beginning October 8 after the Probation Service have compiled a background report, and prosecutors have consulted with Mr Lawson's family.

Judge Stephen Ashurst granted her bail until then, and told her: "All sentencing options will be open when you return.

"The fact I am asking for a report and granting you bail should not be taken by you as any promise to what the sentence will be."

Today’s hearing had been scheduled for barristers and the judge to discuss the case ahead of an expected trial in late-October as Bramley was denying the charge.

But after lengthy behind-the-scenes talks involving prosecutor Nick Dry and defence lawyer Robert Newcombe, a breakthrough arrived this afternoon when Bramley accepted responsibility on a particular basis.

Judge Ashurst appeared surprised at the development, after Mr Dry told him: "On that basis, it is acceptable."

The judge – who had dealt with the murder case – questioned: "Notwithstanding she knew Mr Saunders's reputation for violence and that he did carry weapons?"

Mr Dry replied: "We have considered all the matters in the round. It has never been the Crown's case that she intended to happen what did happen."