Teens 'must have killed woman together'

TWO teenagers blaming each other for the murder of a mother-of-two acted together to throw her body into a river, a court heard yesterday.

James Hore

TWO teenagers blaming each other for the murder of a mother-of-two acted together to throw her body into a river, a court heard yesterday.

Helen Maughan's body was found in the River Colne in Colchester on May 18 last year.

The 24-year-old died from a combination of head injuries and drowning, Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Two teenagers, aged 17 and 14, have denied murder and both say the other was responsible for attacking her and then dumping her body in the River Colne.

But a jury of six men and six women heard that Miss Maughan's injuries suggested more than one person was responsible for getting her body into the water close to North Station Road in the town.

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Dr David Rouse, a Home Office pathologist who carried out the post mortem, said she had been hit with either a foot or fist and had abrasions to her thigh, bruising to her left arm, hands, wrists, shins and calves.

He told the court the results of the post mortem showed Miss Maughan had been carried, not dragged.

Dr Rouse also said samples taken from Miss Maughan's lungs showed particles from the water that would not have been present if she had already been dead when she went into the water.

Prosecutor Sasha Wassasked: “Was there anything to indicate dragging across vegetation or tarmac pavement?”

He replied “no”.

And Dr Rouse said there was no scientific evidence to support either defendant's version of events.

“She had bruising to her ankles and calves and that suggests the she was carried by two people,” he said.

One woman in the public gallery was in tears as she heard the evidence.

The defendants were 16 and 13 at the time of the alleged killing and cannot be named because of their age.

The jury, who this week visited the spot where Miss Maughan was found, had been told the defendants had been drinking alcohol throughout the day before they met their alleged victim, who had also been out drinking alone.

Miss Wass alleged that at around 11.24pm they met randomly on the riverbank next to Quilters bar.

CCTV images are said to capture the trio walking along the river bank and about 30 minutes later the teenagers were captured walking back without Miss Maughan.

The court heard that after Miss Maughan's body was found police appealed for information using the CCTV images and a number of people recognised both the teenagers and they were both arrested on July 31.

The trial continues.

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