Megan Newborough: How the trial of her killer colleague Ross McCullam unfolded

Leicester Crown Court heard how Ross McCullam dumped Megan Newborough's body in a country lane in Woodhouse Eaves. Credit: Handout

Megan Newborough, from Nuneaton, was 23 years old when her body was found in undergrowth near the village of Woodhouse Eaves in Leicestershire.

Post-mortem examination tests carried out on Miss Newborough's body found she had suffered 14 neck wounds.

Her former colleague, Ross McCullam, 30, from Coalville in Leicestershire, denied murdering Megan, but admitted the manslaughter of the 23-year-old by strangling her at his home on Friday 6 August last year.

He was found guilty of murder and will be sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Friday.

A court artist's sketch of Ross McCullam, who admits strangling 23-year-old Megan Newborough Credit: PA Images

How did Megan know McCullam?

The jury heard how the victim and accused were co-workers at Ibstock Brick, in North West Leicestershire.

She first met McCullam in late June last year at the brick company, where she worked in human resources.

The pair had struck up a "relationship of sorts" after Misss Newborough was involved in carrying out an audit of the company's laboratory.

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

Joe Howard, a senior lab technician at Ibstock Brick, told the court that he had been responsible for training the defendant and overseeing some of his work as a lab assistant.

Mr Howard recalled McCullam telling him that he and Megan had, on one occasion, had sex together at a pond in countryside close to their place of work.

He told the jury the defendant had also shown him nude photographs of Megan on his phone which he felt had been "inappropriate".

Police where Megan Newborough's body was found Credit: PA

What happened to Megan Newborough?

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

Jurors heard Miss Newborough and McCullam had arranged to meet at his house for a sexual encounter on the night of her death while his parents were out.

But the prosecution allege that Megan was dead within 40 minutes of arriving at the address shortly after 8pm.

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

"Following her death, Megan's body would be examined by a forensic pathologist...she concluded that 'pressure to the neck', or strangulation, was the cause of Megan's death."

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

The prosecutions further allege the defendant, who did not have a driving licence, loaded Megan's body into her white Citroen C3 and dumped her partially-clothed body in thick undergrowth off Charley Road, a remote country lane near Woodhouse Eaves and Beacon Hill Country Park.

Earlier, prosecutors claimed he had discarded her phone in Hermitage Road, Whitwick.

The court heard he left her car in the car park of Loughborough College and the jury was shown CCTV footage of the defendant disposing of Megan's boots, spectacles and other personal items, as well as bloody sheets and other incriminating evidence in nearby bins.

Miss Newborough was reported missing by her family the following afternoon, Saturday 7 August 2021, after she failed to return home.

Her body was found in the early hours of the following day.

A jury hear Ross McCullam (left) was allegedly abused by Stephen Beadman (right) Credit: Elizabeth Cook/Leicestershire Police

What has McCullam's defence been?

McCullam admits manslaughter but denies murdering her. He claims he "lost control" after a sexual encounter between the pair triggered an episode of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) linked to him having been abused by older children when he was a youngster.

On the eighth day of the trial, Leicester Crown Court heard the 30-year-old lab assistant was allegedly abused by Stephen Beadman, a man who brutally raped and murdered Measham schoolgirl Kayleigh Haywood in 2015.

Lab manager Graham Fyson said McCullam and himself had a close relationship when the pair worked together and said they would often talk to one another.

Mr Fyson said McCullam has confided in him about being sexually abused as a child.

When asked under cross-examination by John Cammegh KC, for the prosecution, he said: "Yes, he told me that he had been raped as a child. This was about six months before Megan's death."

The lab manager went on to explain McCullam revealed more information over time.

He said the defendant reported being "goaded" into sexual behaviour by several older children on numerous occasions and spoke about being raped when he was 13 years old.

Speaking to the jury, he said: "I asked him at one point if he knew the individual who had raped him.

"He said there were three of them. One had run away but two remained.

"I asked again if he knew them. There was a long pause and he said 'Do you remember the murder of Kayleigh Haywood?'

"I said 'yes'. He then gave me a name. I told him it sounded familiar.

"It wasn't until I got home and Googled the case that I realised who it was.

"The name he gave me was Stephen Beadman, who was the man who murdered Kayleigh Haywood. That's all he said and left it at that."

What does McCullam claim happened on the night of Megan's death?

Answering questions from defence KC Kerim Fuad, McCullam said: "We went into the back room. We stayed there for about 15-20 minutes, just talking really.

"She (Megan) could see that something was up. I was just sweating and panicking. I should have said at that point, ‘I need to be on my own’.”

Asked what had then happened in the living room, McCullam said he and Miss Newborough were starting to engage in sexual activity, when he swore at her because he “felt a bit awkward”.

Claiming Miss Newborough, from Nuneaton in Warwickshire, had given him "a little bit of a slap" on the side of his leg in a playful way, McCullam told the jury: "She pulled me closer and said ‘come here’.

"That’s just when I exploded… just rage. I pushed her forward with all my strength. I have never ever felt like that before. It was like a volcano."

McCullam, 30, of Windsor Close, Coalville, has been convicted of murdering Miss Newborough.