Jury retires in trial of man accused of murdering ex-partner Sarah Henshaw and dumping body

Darren Hall court case Credit: PA Media

The jury has retired to consider its verdict in the trial of a man accused of murdering his former partner and dumping her body near a lay-by.

Darren Hall is accused of killing 31-year-old Sarah Henshaw and leaving her body in woodland near a lay-by on the westbound A617 near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, on June 20 this year.

Hall, 36, claimed in his trial at Derby Crown Court that Ms Henshaw fell down the stairs but admitted moving her body to the woodland, 20 miles away from their home in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, as he “just panicked”.

The jury of nine men and three women were given final directions on Thursday afternoon by trial judge Mr Justice Goss before retiring.

Ms Henshaw’s body was found on June 26, after she was last seen alive on the evening of June 20 near her home in Norman Street, Ilkeston.

Darren Hall is on trial at Derby Crown Court Credit: Jacob King/PA

Prosecutors have told the trial that Hall “callously dumped” Ms Henshaw’s body after fatally attacking her during an argument.

While the Crown admitted in its opening that it could not say how Ms Henshaw died, bruising found on her neck was “about the width of a dressing gown cord”, prosecutor Michelle Heeley KC said.

After disposing of her body, Hall was seen disposing of her belongings, including her dressing gown and slippers, at a recycling centre and in a skip.

In his defence, Hall said Ms Henshaw inadvertently fell down the stairs during the argument but he moved her body and disposed of her possessions to reinforce a lie that she had voluntarily gone missing.

The carpet fitter, of Rodney Way, Ilkeston, said he was “not thinking right” in the aftermath of Ms Henshaw’s death and that there was “no real, reasonable reason” as to why he moved her body and lied to police, family and friends about her whereabouts.

The trial continues.

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