A YOUNG woman who stood accused of helping a killer escape has told of her relief after she was cleared by a jury.

Jodie Iceton’s trial at Durham Crown Court ended just before lunchtime on Thursday when a unanimous ‘not guilty’ verdict was returned.

The 22-year-old had been charged with assisting an offender in relation to the death of Dale Arnold who died after he was stabbed in Kelloe in August 2016.

Speaking after the verdict, Miss Iceton, from Bearpark, near Durham, said: “I am relieved it's all over.

“It has been terrible. It has been mental torture.”

The court was told Miss Iceton along with Elena Pearce, who was driving, went to shops for men’s toiletries, boxer shorts and a mobile phone before dropping Josh Johnson off at a hotel in Gateshead.

The 19-year-old was arrested after three days on the run and was sentenced to eight years and nine months imprisonment after pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The jury was told he had contacted Elena Pearce and asked her to pick him up shortly after the stabbing and Miss Iceton told police he was in a “right state”.

Miss Iceton said she did not believe Johnson when he first told them he had stabbed someone, but then she had told him to hand himself in.

After the trial she said: “It's been a tough year and a half and, because it has been such a long time, I have been having to revisit it and relive everything that happened.

“I'm glad that people have seen I am not a malicious horrible person. I was more concerned about Josh’s mental health rather than anything else.”

While giving her evidence, Miss Iceton denied any part in shopping for items or booking the hotel for Johnson.

Elena Pearce, 32, of Broadway, Chester-le-Street, pleaded guilty to the charge of assisting a separate hearing.

Miss Iceton, who works in a supermarket, said: “I am looking forward to getting back to normality.

“I haven't been able to plan for my future as I didn't know what was going to happen.

“I don't really need anything else for Christmas now.”