'Controlling' accused killer’s type was ‘drop dead girls with mental health issues’, court told

Leah Ware had three children and had a number of mental health conditions including bipolar disorder, the court heard Credit: PA Media

A man accused of murdering two women six months apart said his ‘type’ in women was 'drop dead girls with mental health issues', a court has been told.

Mark Brown, 41, of Squirrel Close in St Leonards, East Sussex, is accused of murdering Alexandra Morgan, 34, and Leah Ware, 33, six months apart in 2021.

He denies both charges.

On Wednesday afternoon at Hove Crown Court the trial heard from Elizabeth Howard, a former school friend. Brown reconnected with her after she returned to using her maiden name on social media.

From June until November 2021 the pair exchanged 700 pages of messages through WhatsApp.

During a conversation on June 7 they discussed the ‘types’ of people they were attracted to.

Brown said: “I only go for drop dead girls with mental health issues, who have at least two kids, and like cars, music and Marvel.”

Miss Ware had three children and had a number of mental health conditions including bipolar disorder, for which she took prescription medication.

Brown discussed Miss Ware with Ms Howard on a number of occasions, and on June 11 he sent a photograph of Miss Ware to her.

Ms Howard said “she’s stunning” and Brown replied “she was, but she’s at peace now”.

Brown repeatedly referred to Miss Ware in the past tense, saying she had taken her own life.

He sent Ms Howard a picture of Miss Morgan, telling her she was his friend’s daughter and that she also had mental health issues.

Alexandra Morgan, also died at the hands of Brown Credit: Kent Police/PA

Brown alluded to past criminal and other bad behaviour throughout the course of their communications.

On June 12 he said: “I wasn’t always nice, it’s a constant fight to be me. I would have to tell you all the bad things I’ve done for love, for justice, for money, for respect, I wouldn’t want you to find out another way.

“I have done monstrous things but I couldn’t do those things to you. You deserve better than me.”

On June 19 he said: “I know some things are a burden on another person so it would only be shared if there was anything other than friendship between us. It’s things I can live with but might not be things you could.”

On June 20, when talking about events in his past, Brown said: “I’m still free so I reckon I got away with it so far. There have been too many close calls so far.”

On June 26 he said: “I’m not proud of a lot of things I’ve done but I’ve never hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it, never took anything the person couldn’t afford to lose. I lived that life, I was clever enough to have got away with it.”

Hove Crown Court also heard evidence from Tamsin Gregory, a friend of Miss Ware’s who had known her since 2017.

She said she had never met Brown or even knew his name, but that she had “concerns” about Miss Ware’s relationship with him. While seeing Miss Ware, Brown had been in a relationship with another woman for around 15 years and they had a son together.

The prosecution allege Brown killed Miss Ware on or around May 7, 2021. Her remains have never been found.

Miss Gregory explained: “Leah wanted him to leave his wife for her but I think she knew he wasn’t going to.

“I had my concerns about the relationship, she told me a few things and she didn’t seem happy at all. It seemed like he was very controlling of her, she had to ring him and check in somewhere so it looked like she was in a certain location at a certain time.

“I never went to the farm and Leah said he didn’t want me up there, so she kept me a secret from him.

“Leah was using drugs and she said he would buy her drugs and watch her smoke them, but he never took them, and then he would do weird stuff like moving stuff around, basically to mess with her head.

“Leah was going to try and get her children back and he would make her feel like she was worthless and wasn’t worth having them. She wouldn’t leave him because of the animals.”

Miss Gregory also recalled two conversations with Miss Ware – one where she was told Miss Ware’s boyfriend had made her pose, tied up and gagged, in the boot of a car for photographs, and a second phone call when Miss Ware said she was “worried” because the photos were missing.

The trial continues.