Accused double murderer from Sussex said his alleged victim took her own life, court hears

The murder trial is taking place at Hove Crown Court

A man accused of murder said he told people his alleged victim had "taken her own life" so he could avoid talking about her, a court heard.

Mark Brown, 41, of Squirrel Close in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, is charged with the murders of Leah Ware, 33, and Alexandra Morgan, 34, six months apart in 2021.

He denies both charges.

The defence's case began at Hove Crown Court on Thursday morning, with defendant Mr Brown taking the stand for the first time.

Leah Ware (left) and Alexandra Morgan (right) went missing within six months of one another Credit: Sussex Police

When questioned by defence barrister Ian Henderson KC, Brown said he did not kill Ms Ware, rape her or "harm a hair on her head".

He also denied being controlling towards her and said he did not know where Ms Ware is.

Brown accepted he had given conflicting accounts to different people as to where Ms Ware was, after, the prosecution allege, he killed her in May 2021.

While giving evidence, Brown said his on-again-off-again relationship with Ms Ware was "off" throughout most of 2021.

He told two friends Ms Ware had been sectioned and was in Woodlands, a mental health facility, and told others that she was "no longer with us".

Brown has pleaded not guilty to both charges Credit: Sussex Police

When asked by Mr Henderson why he used the phrase "no longer with us" if he believed Ms Ware is alive, Brown said: "I think they presumed it was a suicide and I didn't want to talk about it.

"I'm not very good with my emotions. I used the phrase so people wouldn't keep asking questions.

"I wanted to speak to someone and it was just an easier way of speaking, without all the other stuff like the drug abuse."

Mark Brown being led out of a prison van at Hove Crown Court

Mr Brown spoke of Ms Ware's drug habits, as she was a regular user of marijuana, crack cocaine and heroin.

He said he had bought her marijuana a few times but only purchased cocaine and heroin for her once.

At this point Brown broke down crying in the stand and said this happened "on the day we lost the baby" - referring to a termination Ms Ware had on 21 February 2020.

Brown and Ware took the cocaine and heroin together on that date "for the pain".

The trial continues.

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