Bury St Edmunds: Murder trial to retire to consider its verdict in Mary Roberts case

Floral tributes for Mary Roberts who was found in the car park of the St Edmunds Tavern in Bury St E

Floral tributes for Mary Roberts who was found in the car park of the St Edmunds Tavern in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

The jury in the trial of a bricklayer accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a mother-of-five whose partially-clothed body was found at the rear of a Suffolk pub is expected to retire to consider its verdict today.

Andrew Ratcliffe, 56, has denied murdering 49-year-old Mary Roberts in March this year.

Mrs Roberts’ body was found at the rear of the St Edmunds Tavern in Bury St Edmunds and a post-mortem examination found she had been strangled.

At the time of her death Mrs Roberts had been staying at a friend’s flat in Petch Close, Bury and Ratcliffe had also been staying at the same address.

It has been alleged by the prosecution that Ratcliffe was “sexually obsessed” with Mrs Roberts and had strangled her after she rejected his advances.

Giving evidence during his trial Ratcliffe said he and Mrs Roberts had gone into a covered smoking area at the St Edmunds Tavern at closing time. He claimed he was drunk and had fallen asleep and when he woke up the area had been in darkness and he hadn’t seen Mrs Roberts’ body.

He denied sexually assaualting and murdering Mrs Roberts.

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Judge John Devaux summed up the case to the jury yesterday and the jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict when it returns to court today.