Forensics suggest Emma Ward suffered “life-threatening” injuries at her Norfolk home

Murder accused Nicky Ward told police he had never argued or fought with his wife - despite forensic evidence suggesting she had suffered 'life-threatening' injuries in the couple's bedroom.

When officers searched the couple's rented cottage in Rockland St Peter, near Attleborough, they found no sign of a struggle. It was only when specialist teams looked closer that they found evidence including heavily stained carpet underlay which suggested Emma Ward, 22, had been killed.

Forensic scientist Hazel Johnson told Norwich Crown Court that a trail of blood had been found leading from the bedroom to the bathroom. DNA tests showed the blood was that of Mrs Ward.

Although the carpet itself was clean to the naked eye, there was a blood stain measuring 90cm by 70cm on the underlay and floorboards. Ms Johnson said the size of the stain suggested Mrs Ward's body had stayed on the floor for some time.

'Either she was alive and still bleeding or she had suffered a very significant injury,' she added.

Blood splatters were also found on walls and furniture suggesting she had expelled blood from her airwaves, consistent with a hard blow to the face.

Ms Johnson added: 'Part of the assault must have taken place when she was on or close to the floor.'

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Blood stains were also found in the bathroom and in scratches in the tub which are thought to have been caused by an electric saw. When this saw was examined, traces of human tissue were found which may have belonged to Mrs Ward.

Ward, 29, of Chapel Road, Rockland St Peter, denies murder. Prosecutors allege he killed Mrs Ward between early April and late May last year and then cut up her body in the bath. No trace of Mrs Ward has ever been found.

When questioned by police, Ward said neither he nor his wife had ever suffered a significant injury which had lead to heavy bleeding while in the house.

In his police interview which was read to the court, officers said they had not been able to see the blood but it was found by a specialist dog. Officers found evidence that Ward had hired a carpet cleaner shortly after Mrs Ward's disappearance but he denied having cleaned the carpet.

Ward described himself as an 'easy going, quiet' man and said 'nothing really riles me'. He insisted Mrs Ward had left him suddenly after a night out.

He did not try to contact her because he thought her mobile phone was broken and they shared an email account. He did not join a high profile public appeal to find Mrs Ward because 'I was in no state do anything.'

The officer asked: 'She suffered a significant, life threatening injury. What happened to her?' He replied: 'I don't know, nothing.'

The officer said: 'We believe she is dead, no sighting, no phone calls, nothing. She's dead Nick, isn't she?' He replied: 'No.'

Ward added: 'There was no argument, no attack.' The officer said: 'Are you saying that somebody else came into your house and killed her and then cleaned up afterwards?' He said: 'No, I'm just confused now.'

The court had already heard that evidence the house was freshly painted and cleaned was found when the house was examined.

The case continues.

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