Stevenage murder trial: Teen ‘killed by boyfriend in same room as baby daughter’, court hears
- Credit: Archant
A TEENAGER was repeatedly struck over the head and strangled by her former boyfriend while their baby was in the room, a court has heard.
Prosecutors say Jack Wall, 22, murdered 19-year-old Stevenage resident Amelia Arnold after she ended the relationship and demanded he move out.
The day before she died, Miss Arnold had met a domestic violence officer at Hatfield Police Station, but did not make a formal complaint.
Her body was discovered in a shallow grave in Travellers Lane, Hatfield, and bloodstained carpet was found in Hollybush Lane, Welwyn Garden City.
It is alleged she was killed at the home the couple shared in Hadrian’s Walk, Stevenage.
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It is believed she died on November 8 last year.
At the opening of a murder trial this morning (Wednesday), prosecutor Jane Bickerstaff QC told jurors: “Amelia, as you will hear, was trying to end the abusive relationship that she was in with the defendant, she wanted him out of her home.”
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Ms Bickerstaff said a row had broken out after Wall learned his name was not in the tenancy agreement of the home.
She said: “In the midst of an argument about that, the prosecution say that he knocked her to the floor, he took a heavy object – most likely a dumbbell bar – and he hit her with it.
“He beat her about the head until she was dead, and for good measure he strangled her.
“He stuffed a sock into her mouth and then he ripped out the wires from his Playstation console and he bound her body into a small parcel.”
The couple’s baby Lexi, who was 11-months-old at the time, was in the bedroom when the attack happened, Ms Bickerstaff stated.
The court heard Miss Arnold had suffered at least eight heavy blows to her head, and had injuries to her eye sockets that were consistent with being punched.
She was already dead by the time Wall tried to strangle her, Ms Bickerstaff said.
After the killing, jurors heard, Wall appeared at his family home in Collenswood Road, where he told his mother, Liz Wall, he had killed Miss Arnold.
Initially the family thought it was a “sick joke”, Ms Bickerstaff said.
Prosecutors claim Wall was determined to remove the evidence, and enlisted the help of his uncle, Joe Potter, to clear the Stevenage home.
During a conversation, Ms Bickerstaff said, Wall had told Potter: “I murdered her, uncle Joe”.
The carpet was dumped in Hollybush Lane, a site Potter suggested because it was popular for flytippers, said Ms Bickerstaff.
Wall then dug a grave at Travellers Lane, Hatfield, where Miss Arnold was buried and covered the grave with disinfectant to deter animals from digging it up, jurors were told.
The killing was reported to police on November 9 by Michael Lilley, Liz Wall’s partner, who jurors heard would be a key prosecution witness.
Ms Bickerstaff said: “Mr Lilley was imploring the defendant to go to the police and tell them what had happened, but instead the defendant was planning where he was going to get a van from.”
Police located the van at the YMCA centre in Welwyn Garden City the following day, where Potter was arrested.
The carpet was discovered the same day, and the next day, Sunday November 11, Miss Arnold’s body was found.
Jurors were told that Miss Arnold had suffered weightloss and depression, and the day before she died, the teenager had attended an appointment with a domestic violence officer at Hatfield Police Station.
But she did not make a formal complaint about Wall.
She had told her GP on October 30 that Wall had been violent toward her.
“She said he used violence against her... he’d hit her on the side of the head,” Ms Bickerstaff said.
Wall also threatened to snap her neck as she slept, jurors were told.
In a letter from Miss Arnold to Wall, discovered by police when officers searched his family home in Collenswood Road, Stevenage, she wrote Wall had told her she “ruined his life” and was “worthless”.
And another letter, giving him 28 days notice to leave their home, she wrote: “I am sorry I ruined your life, I hope you find someone you do care about, I hope they care about you and love you as much as I do.”
Another undated letter, found at Miss Arnold’s home and addressed from her to Stevenage Borough Council, said: “I can’t cope like this anymore, I’ve become a different person, I’m seeking mental help from my doctor now.”
And it concluded: “I need him (Wall) gone.”
Wall handed himself in at Hatfield Police Station on November 11, but could not be interviewed until the following day, as he was heavily under the influence of cannabis, Ms Bickerstaff said.
Wall denies murder, but admits manslaughter.
The trial, at Blackfriars Crown Court, is expected to last two weeks.
Jurors heard Potter has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, and both he and Wall have admitted obstructing a coroner.