A ‘jealous and violent’ man told his estranged wife to swallow her wedding ring before beating her to death in a ‘brutal’ attack while children were in the house, a court has heard.
Shaun Dyson, 28, is accused of the murder of Lucy-Anne Rushton, 30, in the early hours of June 23 by repeatedly jumping or stamping on her at their home in Andover, Hampshire.
He allegedly killed her in a ‘prolonged and very severe’ attack six months after their ‘toxic’ relationship ended. He denies her murder.
Ms Rushton had confided in loved ones about the couple’s ‘volatile’ relationship and was convinced Dyson would end up killing her.
She had been dead for ‘some time’ at her home when Dyson decided to dial 999, claiming Ms Rushton had drowned.
The couple – who got together in 2010 and married four years later after eloping to Gretna Green – frequently argued but had split by the beginning of this year.
Family and friends pleaded with Ms Rushton to leave Dyson sooner, but she refused and declared ‘she loved him’, Winchester Crown Court heard today.
Simon Jones, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court that Ms Rushton became the victim of a ‘history of domestic violence’.
Mr Jones said: ‘The defendant’s and Lucy’s relationship is probably best described as toxic.
‘Lucy was killed by the defendant; she was the victim of a prolonged and very severe beating, culminating in repeated stamping or jumping or both on her chest and while she was laid on her back.’
He continued: ‘There was no justification for blow after blow, kick after kick, stamp after stamp on Lucy. This was borne out of a jealous rage in a violent man.’
Mr Jones said that Dyson, who had already hit Ms Rushton on the evening before she died, had become ‘enraged’ by a phone call she received from a man she had been in a relationship with.
He said that a child witness had seen the defendant say to Ms Rushton in the early hours: ‘Swallow the ring because we are not together any more.’
He added that the witness said Ms Rushton had put the ring in her mouth but had not swallowed it because they had seen it on the stairs later, where it was found.
Mr Jones said the child witness had woken up again to see Dyson hitting Ms Rushton and she had a ‘sad voice’ while the defendant was in a ‘mean mood’.
Mr Jones said Ms Rushton had told members of her family in the months before she died that she feared Dyson would murder her.
The prosecutor added: ‘She was convinced that he was going to do something to her and if he couldn’t have her, no-one could.’
Ms Rushton’s sister Lola Simpson said she received a call from her ‘hysterical’ sister declaring Dyson was ‘going to murder her’ just one month before she was beaten to death.
The defendant had told his estranged wife that he hid a bag with a change of clothes, petrol and weapons inside – with Ms Rushton adamant he was going to ‘do something bad to her’.
Ms Simpson also told police Dyson strangled her sister until she lost consciousness three years ago and claimed Ms Rushton said she wanted to write a will just nine days before she was killed.
The jury of six men and six women were today shown CCTV footage of Dyson kicking, punching and spitting at Ms Rushton outside Britannia Hotel, Bournemouth, Dorset, last September.
Police were called after a night porter raised the alarm, with a teary Ms Rushton telling a hotel guest: ‘I’m used to it, that is how men are.’
But she denied she had been attacked when officers arrived and instead claimed she had suffered a nosebleed, the court heard.
Prosecutor Simon Jones said: ‘The CCTV shows the defendant repeatedly assaulting Lucy in the hallway of that hotel room.
‘This is an example of the domestic violence we will hear about in this case – an example of how the defendant was violent towards Lucy.’
In messages sent to his lover after allegedly killing his ex-partner, Dyson said Ms Rushton had marks on her neck because ‘he choked her during rough sex’.
Dyson claims Rushton drowned.
Mr Jones said: ‘We say what happened that night was not a momentary loss of control but the culmination of previous episodes of violence that had preceded events that night.
‘The cause of death was not drowning. The cause of death, the prosecution suggest and is clear, was of a brutal, violent beating administered by Shaun Dyson.’
The trial continues tomorrow.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Danyal Hussein