Colleague strangled Megan Newborough before cutting her throat to ensure she was dead, court hears

Megan Newborough Credit: ITV News Central

A lab worker strangled his colleague, cut her throat to make sure she was dead, and then dumped her body in undergrowth beside a country lane in Leicestershire, a murder trial has heard.

A jury at Leicester Crown Court was told that Ross McCullum, 30, killed Megan Newborough, 23, at his home in Coalville on 6 August last year, before staging a "calculated and carefully executed" cover-up.

McCullum admits manslaughter but denies murdering Miss Newborough, claiming a "loss of control" or abnormality of mind meant he was not able to form an intent to cause serious harm.

The court heard she first met McCullum in late June last year at a brick company where she worked in human resources.

The court heard allegations that McCullum murdered Miss Newborough after she drove to his home following an exchange of flirtatious messages over the previous weeks.

Opening the prosecution’s case on Tuesday, John Cammegh KC said: "The Crown's case is that the violent manner of Megan's death leaves no room for doubt that the defendant intended to do so."

During their brief relationship, Miss Newborough is said to have "indulged the defendant with nothing but empathy, kindness and endless patience".

The court heard that she set off from her parents' home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, at 7.30pm on 6 August in her Citroen C3, which McCullum later used to move her body.

A police cordon on Charley Road after Megan Newborough’s body was found Credit: Matthew Cooper/PA

Mr Cammegh told the court: "First, he strangled her with his bare hands.

"Following her death, Megan's body would be examined by a forensic pathologist, Dr Frances Hollingbury, who you will hear from later in this trial.

"She concluded that 'pressure to the neck', or strangulation, was the cause of Megan's death."

The jury heard that McCullum told police after his arrest that he had cut his victim's throat with a knife to "make sure" she was dead.

Post-mortem examination tests carried out after Miss Newborough's body was discovered near Woodhouse Eaves in Leicestershire found 14 neck wounds.

Police at the scene where Megan Newborough’s body was found Credit: Matthew Cooper/PA

McCullum is also alleged to have attempted to clean up bloodstains on a carpet and fetched himself a change of clothing before disposing of Miss Newborough's body and leaving her vehicle in a car park in Loughborough.

Mr Cammegh told the jury: "As I have mentioned to you, the defendant accepts he killed Megan but he denies murder.

"You may be wondering what his defence is. In essence he says that he was incapable, either through a temporary loss of control or an abnormality of the mind, to form the intent to kill her or to do her really serious harm.

"Given that defence you may wish to consider the relevance of the defendant's behaviour from the moment when he strangled Megan, throughout the night that followed and into the next day.

"The Crown's case is that the defendant embarked immediately upon a series of deliberate actions carefully calculated and carefully executed to cover up Megan's murder and his role in it.

"The Crown say this behaviour conclusively exposes the fact that he was not momentarily struck by an irresistible wave of emotion or some other disability of the mind, committing a terrible act in difficult circumstances, but that he was a cunning and resourceful murderer."

The trial continues.