Murder accused told barmaid 'I'll get you home safe', court told


A bookkeeper accused of killing a young barmaid was heard telling her outside a nightclub "I'll get you home safe" before she was raped and murdered, a court has heard.

Edward Tenniswood, 52, turned up outside NB's cocktail bar in Northampton in the early hours of Saturday January 30 where he spotted 20-year-old India Chipchase in a "fairly pickled state", according to the prosecutor.

Opening the Crown's case at Birmingham Crown Court, Christopher Donnellan said: "Others nearby thought from the way he spoke to her, he knew her.

"He was overheard by others to say, 'not to worry', and he'd get her home safe - he didn't."

On day one of the trial, the jury of six men and six women heard that Ms Chipchase's death "was no dreadful accident" and that Tenniswood "raped and throttled" her at his home in Stanley Road.

Mr Donnellan said a doorman concerned for Ms Chipchase's welfare had earlier put her into a taxi but that in her drunk and confused state, she got back out.

Separated from her friends, it was shortly afterwards at about 1.15am that Tenniswood "led, steered or escorted" her to a cab which took the pair to his house, the prosecutor said.

The prosecution's barrister said it was there that Tenniswood sexually assaulted Ms Chipchase.

Mr Donnellan said she "appears to have put up a struggle" because Tenniswood's blood was found under one of her fingernails.

When he was arrested at a nearby Ibis hotel at 6.40pm on the Sunday, he was found with a scratch to his neck and marks on his arms and legs.

Jurors were told that Ms Chipchase had suffered blunt force trauma to her head and face, and had a graze on her ear that had bled through to a sheet under the mattress on which she was discovered.

It is not clear how long Tenniswood stayed in the house after she died, but he made his way to the Ibis hotel in Mare Fair and checked in at around 9.30pm on the Saturday, the prosecutor said.

Mr Donnellan said: "He stayed there many hours but there's no sign of him on Sunday. But he was, at 6.40pm, in the lounge area some three hours after India's body was discovered, and he was arrested."

The Crown's barrister said there was evidence of Tenniswood having cleared up after Ms Chipchase's death.

Mr Donnellan said: "He re-clothed her, covered her in a sheet and left her.

"Her death was no dreadful accident, because obviously if it had been the defendant would have called an ambulance or started CPR, or asked for help - of which there was no sign.

"He removed her belongings, placing them around the house - they were inconspicuous."

Jurors were told Tenniswood had "other women's clothes and shoes" dotted throughout his rented home, where he lived alone.

Mr Donnellan added: "He was obviously aware of what he was doing and put on clear plastic vinyl gloves. They were found in a bag of rubbish - India's blood on the outside of the gloves and his DNA on the inside.

"It is very likely his motive was sexual and when she resisted him he was determined to have sex and he grabbed her around the throat and squeezed. He held her until she was unable to resist any more."

Tenniswood denies the charges and the trial continues.