Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Dismembered salesman 'killed for his identity'

Jeffrey Howe
Jeffrey Howe's body parts were found dumped in two counties

A man whose body parts were scattered across two counties was stabbed to death and dismembered so his killers could steal his identity, a jury heard.

Pieces of Jeffrey Howe's body were found dumped in Hertfordshire and Leicestershire last March and April.

Stephen Marshall, 38, of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, and Sarah Bush, 21, of Southgate, London, deny murdering 49-year-old Mr Howe last March.

St Albans Crown Court heard they killed him to seize his flat and possessions.

They "took advantage" of him, paying no rent and stealing his food, the jury was told.

The flesh on Mr Howe's scalp and face was removed and his ears and tongue cut away, the court heard.

Mr Howe's hands have never been found.

'Used his weakness'

The court heard the accused's plan was to gain Mr Howe's finances and possessions.

Prosecutor Stuart Trimmer QC told the jury Ms Bush was Marshall's girlfriend and both had moved into the flat.

"They took advantage of Jeffrey Howe," he said.

"He allowed Marshall and Bush to live in his flat. They paid no rent, stole his food, promised to leave but failed to do so.

Substantial quantities of blood must have been shed in the murder and in the cutting-up or dismembering of the body
Prosecutor Stuart Trimmer QC

"Howe was unable to evict them and they appear to have seen his weakness as an opportunity to seize his flat, his possessions and eventually his identity."

On Tuesday, Marshall admitted dismembering Mr Howe and disposing of his body parts.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of perverting the course of justice.

The first involved giving false information about the whereabouts of Mr Howe when police were conducting a missing person investigation.

Secondly, he admitted dismembering the victim's body and disposing of the parts in different places to impede the investigation.

Ms Bush denies dismembering Mr Howe and disposing of his body parts.

'Precision' cutting

Mr Howe's remains were discovered by members of the public in various locations between 22 March and 11 April last year, jurors were told.

Mr Trimmer said: "The removal of the parts missing had been undertaken with skill and precision, according to pathologists and experts.

"It was carried out by someone who had experience of such activity."

Mr Howe was murdered on 8 or 9 March in his flat in Southgate, north London, the jury was told.

Mr Trimmer said: "Substantial quantities of blood must have been shed in the murder and in the cutting-up or dismembering of the body.

"While there was a determined effort to clean up, blood from Mr Howe was found in the en-suite bathroom and bedroom of his flat."

The trial continues.

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Man admits dismembering salesman
12 Jan 10 |  England

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