Alison Morrison, a former children's publisher and chair of Book Trust’s board of trustees, died in a ferocious attack by her neighbour after a dispute over noise from her son's skateboard, the Old Bailey has heard.
Neighbour Trevor Gibbon is on trial for the murder of Morrison, who was killed on her way to work last December. Gibbon has denied murder but admitted the killing on the basis he was "suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning".
According to a court report in the Telegraph, Morrison is alleged to have been ambushed by Trevor Gibbon, who lived next door, while she walked to the station in Harrow. As she lay dying, having been stabbed 33 times, Morrison reportedly said: “Trevor Gibbon did this to me."
Gibbon had previously been given a restraining order after pleading guilty to harassing Mrs Morrison and her family for years, the Old Bailey trial heard.
The dispute between the neighbours dated back to 2011 when Morrison, her partner and her son moved next to Gibbon and his partner in Harrow. Gibbon began almost immediately to complain about the noise from the son’s skateboard but despite the Morrisons' attempts to placate him, nothing seemed to satisfy him, the jury was told.
After the attack, Gibbon drove away and was picked up by the police in Lincolnshire, where he had blood on his hands.
Opening his murder trial, prosecutor Brian O'Neill Q.C. said: "That morning Trevor Gibbon was a very angry man. He may well have felt that Alison Morrison had gotten the better of him and had won their protracted dispute. He may well have felt the need for revenge as a result."
Morrison had a career in book publishing until she moved to Which? in 2007. She worked as promotions co-ordinator at Penguin from 1994 to 1999, and thereafter as marketing manager at Egmont and marketing director at Walker (2000-2007). She was also co-founder of the Diversity in Publishing Network (Dipnet, now EQUIP) and chair of Book Trust's board of trustees from 2005 to 2007.
After her death a fundraising page set up in her honour raised more than £2,000 for Booktrust, and the Independent Publishers Guild's diversity award was renamed the Alison Morrison Diversity Award in her honour.
Elise Dillsworth, who co-founded Dipnet, wrote a tribute to Morrison in The Bookseller, saying: “Alison always strove to make a difference in whatever she did, and through Dipnet and thevarious initiatives and support networks it established, the issue of diversity was challenged and changes were made that have had a lasting impact on the industry. I am proud to share the legacy of Dipnet with Alison, and prouder still to have been her friend.
"Alison was generous, loyal and caring. Personally and professionally, she was always there to listen and give advice with a ready smile—and lunch. She was an inspiring spirit and in her company you felt that nothing was impossible."
The trial continues.