Murder accused asked 'is he dead yet?'

A WOMAN stabbed her boyfriend in the back and later asked police “is he dead yet” as paramedics tried in vain to save his life, a court heard.

Annie Davidson

A WOMAN stabbed her boyfriend in the back and later asked police “is he dead yet” as paramedics tried in vain to save his life, a court heard.

Tammy Fletcher attacked Marcus Witham after they rowed and he tried to leave the home they shared in Nathan Court, Colchester, it is alleged.

The jury at Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday that the pair were both drug users and had smoked cannabis before the killing on November 1, 2006.

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David Holborn, prosecuting, said that Mr Witham and 35-year-old Miss Fletcher were heard having a “heated argument” by their neighbours in the early hours of the morning on the day he died.

He said Karla Hood and Darryl Noe later told police they had heard the pair shouting between 2am and 5am.

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Later the same day Mr Witham phoned friend, Damien Hunnaball, and asked him to come to the house, which he did and then gave Mr Witham a lift to the shops.

They returned and sat in the couple's bedroom with Miss Fletcher and smoked some cannabis before an argument again broke out between Mr Witham, 36, and the defendant.

Mr Holborn said it was “probably a continuation of the argument they had started earlier in the day”.

“Mr Hunnaball said the defendant was loud and aggressive towards Mr Witham and in his opinion - and he was a drug user himself - appeared to be under the influence of drugs,” said Mr Holborn.

“He didn't want to know anything about the argument and so he went downstairs leaving them to get on with it. He wanted to keep out the way so he washed some dishes.

“He heard the defendant shout something like 'no you're not leaving'. It seems Mr Witham wanted to go and Tammy Fletcher didn't want him to.”

The jury of nine men and three women was told that Mr Witham walked into the lounge and Miss Fletcher began to throw some items, including a set of step ladders, down the stairs after him.

She then also came downstairs and, Mr Hunnaball told police, they began to struggle after Miss Fletcher grabbed her boyfriend's mobile phone.

Once he had retrieved it from her Mr Witham tried to leave and Miss Fletcher bolted the front door - but Mr Witham said he had a key and proceeded to try and go out the door, the court heard.

Mr Holborn said: “The defendant went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and went straight up behind the deceased, Marcus Witham, and stabbed him in the back.

“That was a blow that proved to be fatal in due course.”

The court heard that Mr Witham still left the property but walked only a few paces before collapsing onto his knees.

Miss Fletcher knocked on the door of Miss Hood's next door property and asked her to call for the emergency services, which she did, before going outside to try and help Mr Witham.

Mr Holborn said Miss Fletcher was heard to say “I did it, these two (Mr Witham and Mr Hunnaball) were attacking me, I had to do it in self defence.”

He alleged she had “realised the seriousness of her actions and was attempting to justify what she had done”.

After police arrived, Mr Witham was able to tell them his girlfriend was responsible for his injury and Miss Fletcher was arrested after being sprayed with CS spray because she barricaded herself into her bedroom and threatened to harm herself.

Mr Holborn said: “Told to behave, she said 'what have I done, why am I here? I want to check on my dog, it's only a puppy.'

“Reminded why she was under arrest, she replied 'is he dead yet?'

“Paramedics had arrived and tried resuscitate to Marcus Witham, he was unconscious and taken in an ambulance to Colchester General Hospital - at about 6.49pm he was pronounced dead.

“The police got a message from the hospital that Mr Witham had sadly died and the defendant was arrested on suspicion of murder and cautioned. She replied 'oh, he's dead now'.”

A post mortem examination found Mr Witham died of a single stab wound which had deeply penetrated his right lung. Miss Fletcher denies a charge of murder.

The trial continues today.

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