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Girlfriend of man beaten to death at Norwich flat confessed to his killing as she had ‘no life left’

PUBLISHED: 09:27 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:03 19 December 2018

Saffron Square in Norwich, where Michael Currer was found beaten to death in November 2016. PIC: Peter Walsh

Saffron Square in Norwich, where Michael Currer was found beaten to death in November 2016. PIC: Peter Walsh

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The girlfriend of a man found beaten to death in his Norwich flat confessed to killing him because she felt she had “no life left” after his death.

Police at Saffron Square for anniversary checks. PIC: Mustard.Police at Saffron Square for anniversary checks. PIC: Mustard.

Michael Currer, 59, was found dead in Saffron Square in the city on November 12, 2016 with fifteen broken ribs and a broken nose, an inquest heard on Tuesday.

Area coroner for Norfolk Yvonne Blake concluded that Mr Currer’s death was as a result of “unlawful killing”.

The inquest at Norfolk Coroners Court had heard evidence from police officers and friends of the deceased, as well as his former girlfriend, Lorraine Firth.

Miss Firth told the inquest she had been in an on-off relationship with Mr Currer and had been living in his flat.

On Monday, November 7 - five days before his body was found - Mr Currer was behaving strangely, she told the inquest.

“He wasn’t himself. He seemed all on edge about something,” she said.

The inquest heard Miss Firth felt Mr Currer did not want her to be there and she went to a flat of another man, Leslie Wagge. Mr Wagge, who has since died, lived around the corner on Hunter Road.

Miss Firth said that on Tuesday or Wednesday she went back to Mr Currer’s to pick up more clothes and saw him sitting on the sofa. She said she noticed injuries around his right eye, as if somebody had hit him

Andy Guy, a retired detective was the senior investigating officer in the Michael Currer case. Picture: Ian BurtAndy Guy, a retired detective was the senior investigating officer in the Michael Currer case. Picture: Ian Burt

“It looked like somebody had been in and tipped the place upside-down,” she said, adding that she asked him about the mess but he would not tell her anything.

Miss Firth said that three people called the flat that day looking for drugs and that she told them there was nothing.

Then on Thursday, November 10, Miss Firth called an ambulance and asked them to go to Mr Currer’s address.

She did not go to his flat that day but she called Mr Wagge’s phone twice.

Carrow House, where Norfolk Coroner's Court is based. Picture: ANTONY KELLYCarrow House, where Norfolk Coroner's Court is based. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

After trying to contact Mr Currer but receiving no reply she went with Mr Wagge to the flat at 6.30am on November 12.

She said the bolt was not on the door, which was strange, and that she saw no fresh injuries but that Mr Wagge said that Mr Currer was dead.

Cash totalling £3,000 and heroin were found in the flat.

Police investigated his death but in February Miss Firth called officers and confessed she had killed Mr Currer.

When asked why she said: “Because I felt I hadn’t got a life anymore when he’d gone. I hoped they’d lock me up or something, because I thought I had no life left.”

The coroner asked: “Did you in fact kill Mr Currer?”

“No,” Miss Firth said.

The inquest also heard from Andy Guy, a retired detective, who was the senior investigating officer in the case.

He said there was no sign of forced entry into Mr Currer’s flat.

“Whoever had gone in had gone in with [Mr Currer’s] consent or let themselves in,” he said.

He said it was probable Mr Currer died on the Thursday but that police were not aware of the death until Saturday.

“So whoever was responsible had plenty of time to dispose of their shoes and clothes,” he said.

Mr Guy said the investigation led to three hypotheses. The inquest heard that the first was that Miss Firth was responsible, the second that Miss Firth and Mr Wagge were jointly responsible, and the third that somebody unknown, not identified, was responsible for the killing.

He said the police could find nothing to support the third proposal, and were left with propositions one and two.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute either Miss Firth or Mr Wagge..

Earlier, PC Frank Jepson had told the inquest that he was called to the flat on Wednesday, November 9, after a man had called the police asking for help.

PC Jepson said he went to Saffron Square and asked the occupant to open the door but that a male voice said he was fine and to leave him alone.

Roger Wood told the inquest that he had lived across from Mr Currer and used to buy drugs from him.

He last saw him on Monday, November 7, when Mr Currer gave him a packet of Rizlas, the inquest heard. He said that his neighbour had no visible injuries.

The coroner said her conclusion was that it was an “unlawful killing”.

“We don’t know who did it,” she said,.“Which is very unsatisfactory, but the case will remain open.”

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