THE wife of a man accused of murder told a court she relapsed into drug use after the suicide of her teenage son.

Helen Keeping, 40, denies two charges of assisting an offender in connection with the murder of Guy Hedger, 61.

Mr Hedger suffered a fatal shotgun injury after two men wearing balaclavas raided his home in Castlewood, near Ringwood on April 30, prosecutors allege.

Keeping’s husband Scott, 44, Jason Baccus, 42, and Kevin Downton, 40, deny murder, aggravated burglary, possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and burglary.

Keeping told a jury at Winchester Crown Court this week she had been addicted to drugs since she was in her early 20s, and had funded her heroin and cocaine habit through shoplifting. As a result, she has 99 convictions on her record, the court heard.

During an eight-week jail sentence in 2016, she managed to get clean, she said. However, four days after she was discharged from prison, her 16-year-old son Callum Cooper took his own life.

Keeping said this led to a relapse, adding: “I was taking tablets, heroin, drinking, smoking crack, whenever I could.”

During the evening of April 29, the defendant said she stayed in with Keeping and Baccus, who was living in the spare room.

At around 11pm she helped her husband to bed, where they went to sleep for the night. Baccus went to meet with Downton and returned to the address at around 6am, she said.

“Scott asked, ‘What have you been up to?’ and Jason said, ‘Been out and done a couple of houses, burgled a couple of f******’ and got some jewellery out of his pocket to show us,” she claimed.

Baccus later brought some Louis Vuitton bags, which Keeping said she couldn’t sell as they weren’t new.

Helen and Scott Keeping and Baccus live in Verney Close, Bournemouth. Downton is of Winterborne Stickland.

The trial continues.