Man killed lover after ultimatum to leave his partner, court told


A cash-and-carry boss killed one of his three lovers on Christmas Eve with the help of his brother, a court has heard.

Roger Cooper, 41, allegedly decided to take Sameena Imam "out of his life" after she issued him with an ultimatum to leave his long-term partner.

The Crown alleges that Cooper, the manager of Costco's Coventry warehouse, believed he would be sacked if Ms Imam, the store's marketing chief, exposed their affair.

Cooper, of Tile Hurst Drive, Coventry, is standing trial alongside David Cooper, 38, of Hughenden Drive, Leicester. Both men deny murder.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court were told Roger Cooper may claim to have travelled to Leicester to pick up a Star Wars figure as a present from his brother.

Opening the case against the two men, prosecutor Timothy Spencer QC said: "He did pick (the Star Wars figure) up but we say the reality of that journey is that it had a much more sinister motive.

"It was really about what was going to happen to Sameena Imam."

CCTV footage played to the jury showed Ms Imam and Roger Cooper leaving Costco's Coventry branch within minutes of each other at about 4pm on December 24 last year.

The Crown claims Ms Imam then left her BMW in the local area and was driven to Leicester before being killed within hours.

Mr Spencer said of the defendants: "They thought they had got away with the killing, they thought they had covered their tracks and traces. They were wrong."

At the time of Ms Imam's death, the court heard, Roger Cooper was also having relationships with two other women, his live-in partner Susan Potts and Costco colleague Sinead Sweeney.

Ms Imam, who lived in South Wales and worked at Costco outlets in Coventry, Southampton, Bristol and Cardiff, was reported missing after failing to attend a family gathering in Essex on Boxing Day.

During his opening address at the start of a two-month trial, Mr Spencer added: "From Boxing Day onwards a missing person inquiry was triggered."

The court heard claims that Ms Imam knew of her lover's long-term partner, but not his relationship with Ms Sweeney, who was estranged from her husband.

Mr Spencer said Roger Cooper and Ms Imam knew they were "running a risk" due to Costco's policies on relationships involving managers.

"Both kept the affair secret," Mr Spencer told the court. "Both knew that the consequences of the affair being discovered could jeopardise their job.

"As far as Roger Cooper was concerned, he did keep it a complete secret from everybody.

"He calculated this - that if Sameena Imam did disappear, he would simply be one of many people that she worked with.

"If that was his calculation, he miscalculated, because Sameena Imam had confided the affair to a close circle of trusted friends.

"So when she disappeared it did come out much more quickly than Roger Cooper bargained for, that the two of them had been engaged in an affair."

Roger Cooper, the court was told, was known to Ms Sweeney by the nickname "Wolfie" and he referred to her as "SAI" - shorthand for sweet and innocent.

It was alleged that during his six-month relationship with Ms Sweeney, he revealed a darker side to his character.

"On one occasion he told her not to cross him," Mr Spencer told the jury of 10 men and two women. "He told her that he was a dangerous man if he was backed into a corner.

"We say that Sameena Imam was doing just that - she was backing him into a corner that he didn't want to be in."

Alleging that Roger Cooper had been "fatal" rather than dangerous, Mr Spencer went on: "Sameena Imam was undoubtedly putting pressure on him.

"Effectively she had issued to him an ultimatum - I have to be your exclusive partner.

"By December of last year he was unravelling. He decided to take drastic steps. He decided that he needed Sameena Imam out of his life."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.