Found dead 3rd February 2011.
Lorna Smith (45), a Sainsbury’s supermarket worker from Hewitt Close, Shirley, Croydon, south London, was found dead at a flat in Morrish Road, Brixton, London on 3rd February 2011. She had suffered knife wounds to her neck and back and a plastic bag had been placed over her head. Her left wrist had been shattered, and a pickaxe handle was found on the floor next to her body.
Clifford Mills (49), her former partner, is accused of her murder and is currently on trial at the Old Bailey. It is alleged that after she ended their 4 year relationship he became jealous, stalked her on Facebook, bombarding her with texts and calls, and then killed her. The Old Bailey heard that he set up a bogus profile under the name ‘Charlie Manning’. It is claimed Mills planned the murder after she began seeing another man. Mills denies murder.
Police had to break down the front door to gain access to the property at 5:23am on 3rd February. Once inside, they found Ms Smith slumped on a sofa in the living room and “Stop The Clocks” by Oasis playing on repeat. Reportedly, Ms Smith had gone to her ex-partner’s house at 3pm the day before to help him with some paperwork for an ongoing court case.
Neighbours remember hearing a woman screaming about 25 minutes later, and local CCTV footage placed Mr Mills leaving the area carrying two bags shortly afterwards. Prosecutor Zoe Johnson said: “This is case of murderous jealousy. This was a planned killing. The two bags full of his belongings were clearly “going away” bags. There simply would not have been time to collect all the carefully-chosen items in two bags after the murder. Furthermore, the defendant made a series of rational decisions – getting on and off various tubes and buses.”
Police were able to trace Mill’s movements on public transport, and found he had travelled by bus and Underground to Chelsea then Hammersmith, where he left his bags in the basement of a block of flats. The jury was told that he then went drinking in Soho for nearly 14 hours before handing himself in at the A&E reception of St. Thomas’ Hospital claiming to be a psychiatric patient. He told staff that someone called ‘Stan’ had committed the killing and that ‘Stan’ existed in his head.
The Prosecutor told the court: “He told the receptionist he had killed, and I quote, ‘the love of my life’. He said ‘Stan has killed Lorna, you need to call the police. I love her, Stan hates her – he killed her.’ When asked who Stan was, the defendant replied ‘Stan is in my head’. He said: ‘Stan took a knife to her throat’.”
Mills admits killing Miss Smith but denies murder on the grounds that he was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning at the time. The prosecution rejects this argument.
Ms Johnson said: “The prosecution case is that the defendant killed his ex-girlfriend not because of an abnormality of mind but because he was jealous and angry with her.” She said jurors would have to decide if this was a case of “murderous jealousy”.
The Court heard that Ms Smith had been in a relationship with Mills from 2002 until 2006, and they remained in touch after breaking up. According to the Prosecution, after she began seeing another man, Tony Hersey, Mills remained in “relentless” contact with her. Ms Johnson said: “It was obvious to Mr Hersey that Charlie Manning was in fact the defendant using another name. Lorna Smith, who perhaps may have been a little naive, she would not believe this.” She told the jury that Mills had a “psychological grip” over Ms Smith and asked her to help him with court paperwork at his flat on 2nd February.
It is alleged that within 20 minutes of her arrival he had murdered her.
The trial continues.
Note: This report was compiled from the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Metro, and the Murder Maps.