Murder accused admits violent struggle

A TRAINEE scientist accused of murdering his partner has admitted he may have had contact with her “neck region” during a violent struggle.

Elliot Furniss

A TRAINEE scientist accused of murdering his partner has admitted he may have had contact with her “neck region” during a violent struggle.

But Daniel Tambengwa, 30, insisted he did not murder Ella Chimweta at their home in the Highwoods area of Colchester last July.

He told his trial at Chelmsford Crown Court they had argued over a family matter and had a physical confrontation as he tried to leave the flat.


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Tambengwa, who was training to be a bio-medical scientist, said he left for a few hours and had found her lifeless body when he returned. “It wasn't real,” he told the jury yesterday.

The body of Miss Chimweta, 32, a nurse at Colchester General Hospital, was discovered in the flat by an 11-year-old girl who had been staying with the couple.

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It is believed the girl had been living with the dead body for a week before she made the grim discovery and told a passer-by.

The nurse's body was so badly decomposed it was impossible to know exactly how she had died but the court has been told her injuries were consistent with strangulation.

Giving evidence for the first time yesterday, Tambengwa, who comes from Cameroon, admitted the tussle with Miss Chimweta, who is from Zimbabwe, but said he had not intended to hurt her.

He said they had argued and she had asked him to leave, but then had a change of heart.

“When I was about to leave she locked the door and said I wasn't going anywhere,” he told the court.

“I knew she didn't want me to go but I just wanted to clear my head and get out. I tried to run through the door and she grabbed me from behind.”

He said he eventually got her off him by twisting her wrists but admitted it “might be a possibility” that when pushing her away, he may have made contact with her “neck region” with the palms of his hands.

Tambengwa told the jury that he had left the flat and had sat in his car around the corner for a few hours before returning to the flat to discover her lying on the bedroom floor.

“I thought that she was asleep and I said 'why are you sleeping on the floor? Go to bed and I will sleep on the sofa in the lounge'.”

He said he then watched television for about half an hour before returning to the room again.

“I shoved her. I didn't get any response so I did lift her from the floor on to the bed. I tried to find a pulse. I tried to give her the kiss of life and gave her chest compressions.

“I was shocked because I knew I just pushed her and it wasn't real. I tried to bring her around but I convinced myself she was just asleep - it wasn't real.”

Tambengwa, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, also denies allegations that he had tried to engage the 11-year-old girl in sexual activity and watch a pornographic film.

“When I was first arrested and interviewed I was presented about this it came as a shock to me. I didn't do any of those things,” he said.

The court heard that a few days later Tambengwa booked a flight and fled to Cameroon after enlisting the help of the young girl to untie and shave off his dreadlocks.

The trial continues.

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