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Accused 'placed flowers on body'

A man murdered his girlfriend, dumped her in a hidden grave on "bleak moorland" and placed flowers on her body in an act of contrition, a court has heard.

Adrian Muir, 50, then recorded three messages on his phone confessing to killing grandmother Pamela Jackson, from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, while he was contemplating suicide, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

The defendant, from Calder Terrace, Halifax, West Yorkshire, denies murdering his 55-year-old girlfriend. She disappeared from her family home in The Crescent on Saturday March 3 this year, the jury heard. Her body was found 120 miles away on the moors above Halifax on May 27.

Andrew Robertson QC, prosecuting, said the area of the grave was "bleak West Yorkshire moorland", off the B6138. When forensic specialists uncovered the burial site, a plastic Tesco bag was found on top of her body, which was left in a foetal position.

"It's a Tesco bag containing some flowers, perhaps a sign of contrition at that early stage," Mr Robertson said. "Pamela Jackson has been buried with a bunch of flowers in a plastic bag. The Tesco bag was examined and a finger print was found on it. Whose finger print was it? Yes, members of the jury, Adrian Muir's."

Analysis of Muir's phone showed it travelled down the A1 on the evening of March 3 from Chester-le-Street, across the Pennines, to the moors where the grave was later found. Muir did not claim anyone else had used his phone, the court heard. Her blood was discovered at her home, and also in his Kia car, the court heard.

Soil samples found in the foot well of his car linked him to the grave site, the jury was told. "However, despite all that, this defendant refuses to face up to what he has done, refuses to face up publicly to the grievous crime he has committed, hence this trial," Mr Robertson said.

"There was a time he was prepared to admit, at least privately, that he had murdered Pamela Jackson. It seems initially he was so overcome with remorse that he decided to kill himself."

Mr Robertson said Muir did not leave a suicide note, but "dictated his feelings onto his phone and thus the police were able to eventually retrieve his own recordings of his own voice, we say, confessing to his crime".

The trial could run until the end of September.

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