Lorraine Cox murder trial: Jury told 32-year-old killed was killed in Exeter bedroom

The 32-year-old was visiting family and friends in her home city.

A man is on trial accused of murdering a woman before dumping her body in bins and woodland around Exeter.

Lorraine Cox, 32, was last seen walking back from a night out with friends in the early hours of 1 September last year, but never arrived home.

She was reported missing two days later and her whereabouts were determined a "mystery" for the next week.

Exeter Crown Court heard while Miss Cox was walking home alone, she had the "great misfortune" of being spotted by Azam Mangori, 24, who was using the name Christopher Mayer.

It's alleged he took Miss Cox to his home above the kebab shop in the St Mary Arches Street area of the city. It's there he reportedly killed Miss Cox before, the jury was told.

After murdering the 32-year-old, Mangori is said to have used her SIM card in his mobile phone to pretend she was alive and well to family and friends.

Jurors were told Miss Cox was walking home alone when she had the "great misfortune" of meeting Mangori. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A large police investigation was launched after her father reported her missing to Devon and Cornwall Police. Mangori was interviewed by officers eight days after Miss Cox's disappearance.

He denies murdering Miss Cox but Exeter Crown Court heard he previously admitted a separate charge of preventing Miss Cox's lawful burial.

Simon Laws QC, prosecuting, told jurors: "One night in the summer of last year, a woman named Lorraine Cox went missing in Exeter.

"She had been out with friends in the evening - it was Bank Holiday Monday at the end of August.

"At about 1.30am, she had set off to walk home alone. She'd had a lot to drink. Her whereabouts were a mystery to her friends and family for the next week. No one knew where she was.

"The answer was that she had been killed by this defendant. She had the great misfortune to be spotted by him when she was walking home alone. He was out walking the streets alone. He went up to her. They have never met one another before."

Mr Laws went on to tell jurors that Mangori took advantage of Miss Cox's "drunken state to have a sexual encounter with her" before taking her to his room above the kebab shop.

Mangori is accused of murdering Miss Cox and disposing of her remains and belongings in several locations.

"He went to enormous efforts to get away with this crime," said Mr Laws.

"But those efforts were all in vain. He had no idea of the scale and intensity of the police investigation that was to come."

When Mangori was interviewed by police several days after Miss Cox's disappearance, he refused to answer questions in relation to the investigation.

The court heard Miss Cox had been living with her partner Elise Farrow in Scotland, but had returned to her home city of Exeter on 14 August to see family and friends.

Mangori, from the Kurdish region of Iraq, came to Exeter the previous month and moved into a room above the Bodrum Kebab House in Fore Street.

On the night of 31 August, Mangori contacted escorts before taking a walk in the city centre "to see what he could find", jurors were told.

"Once he saw Lorraine Cox on her own, he honed in on her," Mr Laws said.

After meeting, Miss Cox and Mangori had a sexual encounter in an alleyway which was recorded by the defendant on his phone. It shows he had a "complete disregard for her well-being", Mr Laws added.

Miss Cox eventually agreed to go home with Mangori and CCTV footage shows her "having trouble walking and standing" as they made their way there.

"No-one, apart from the defendant, would see Lorraine Cox alive again," Mr Laws said.

"She would never leave the Bodrum building, she would die in his bedroom in the next few hours.

"There were no witnesses to what he did to end her life. We do not know precisely how he killed her."

Others living in the building were not aware that Mangori had brought Miss Cox home and heard nothing they thought to be suspicious.

Mangori, of no fixed abode, denies murder. The trial, expected to last four weeks, continues.

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