“I killed Emma,” accused tells Norwich Crown Court

Murder accused Nick Ward yesterday admitted 'I must have killed Emma' - but said he had no recollection of dismembering her body and disposing of the remains.

Taking the stand at Norwich Crown Court, the 29-year-old insisted he had long-standing memory problems and this, combined with 'trauma and panic', explained why he could not recall the alleged murder of Emma Ward which happened between early April and late May last year.

He said it was not until December that he had begun to piece together events. Until then he had been convinced that she had left him and was still alive.

Describing their relationship, Ward, softly spoken and dressed in a black suit, said: 'She always wanted more than I could give her. I was never violent towards her but she had been violent towards me.

'On April 3 I came across a message that she had left on the computer for me. It said: 'I've found a real man. Rot in hell'. I had last seen her the evening before. I did not try to phone her, I just accepted that she had left me.'

Ward had originally told police that this was the last time he had seen Mrs Ward. He denied that any attack had taken place at their home in Chapel Street, Rockland St Peter, near Attleborough.

But he told jurors he now had a new recollection of events: 'I'm not sure of the date but it was later that week. I was asleep in bed and it was the middle of the night. I was woken up by a glass of water being thrown at me.

Most Read

'All I could hear was shouting, I couldn't make out who it was. I was hit to the back of my head then I felt a glass hit me. I must have blocked it because it cut my hand.

'I hit back with the glass and I thought it cut the person on the neck. I did not realise it was Emma until I started remembering what happened.'

Ward said that after the attack he sat at the top of the stairs in 'shock'. 'I do not remember anything after that,' he said.

The prosecution claims that forensic evidence proves Ward dragged 22-year-old Mrs Ward's body from their bedroom into the bathroom and cut her body up in the bath. They say he then disposed of the body and redecorated the house to cover his tracks. Mrs Ward's body has never been found.

Cross-examining Ward, prosecutor Simon Spence said: 'Are you asking this jury to accept that you dragged Emma's body into the bathroom, cut it up with an electric saw, removed body parts from your house and disposed of them in one or more places and that you have no recollection of that at all?'

Ward responded: 'Yes'.

Mr Spence said that although Ward had complained of memory loss to doctors in the past, their was no medical evidence of any neurological or mental illness.

Shortly after the alleged murder, Ward gave notice on the cottage the couple shared. When a prospective tenant viewed the property, Ward asked them not to look in the cupboard under the stairs.

'Was that because some bits of Emma's body were still there?' asked Mr Spence, 'I wouldn't know,' Ward replied.

Mr Spence said that Ward probably killed Mrs Ward on April 2. On April 8 he hired a carpet cleaner and bought an electric saw, blades and paint from a DIY store in Attleborough.

He asked: 'It is simply unbelievable, isn't it, that you spent two days cleaning and decorating the house but have no memory of it?'

Ward said: 'It may seem unbelievable but it's not the first time I've forgotten something big.'

He added: 'I did not intend to kill Emma but I do accept that she died at my hands. I simply can't remember anything else.'

Mr Spence described Ward as a 'cold and calculating killer' whose thinking had been 'entirely rational' as he sought to disguise what had happened.

He said: 'The reason you cannot tell us where Emma's body is, is because if you did that you know the police would be able to examine it and verify whether or not what you say is true.

'I'm going to give you one final opportunity, if you have any shred of humanity left in you at all, please tell Emma's parents Elaine and David Noonan where their daughter is so that they can put her to rest?'

Ward, who denies murder, responded: 'No, I can't.'

Police launched a murder inquiry on May 24 last year when Mrs Ward's friends and family became increasingly concerned. They had not seen her since the end of March and prosecutors say it is not known whether she ever celebrated her 22nd birthday on April 9.

When officers searched the house they found heavy blood staining underneath the recently cleaned carpet and human remains were found on an electric saw.

When a forensic examination was carried out, experts found skirting board and walls of the house had been recently repainted but blood stains could be found below the carpet line. The bath had scratches which may have been caused by the saw and which contained traces of Mrs Ward's blood.

Prosecution and defence counsel are expected to deliver their closing speeches on Monday. The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict on Tuesday.

ben.kendall@archant.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter