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Murder trial told of body under blankets

PUBLISHED: 08:46 06 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:41 03 July 2010

A FATHER-of-three strangled his magistrates' court worker girlfriend and then watched films while her body lay at their Norwich home, a prosecutor told jurors yesterday.

A FATHER-of-three strangled his magistrates' court worker girlfriend and then watched films while her body lay at their Norwich home, a prosecutor told jurors yesterday.

Claire Roberts, 28, was found dead under a pile of blankets at her home in John Stephenson Court on May 13 last year - but evidence indicated that she had been killed on May 6, Karim Khalil QC told Cambridge Crown Court.

And billing records suggested that unemployed Paul Hubbard, 39, downloaded movies - including a film called Adult Nightly Spice Extreme - on May 7, 8, 9 and 10, he added.

Mr Khalil said police found Hubbard at the home he shared with Miss Roberts, who was originally from Great Yarmouth. And he told jurors that a Liverpool Football Club badge belonging to Hubbard was found among the blankets covering Miss Roberts.

Mr Khalil said Hubbard had a history of depression, irritability and violence after undergoing a personality change when he suffered head injuries in a road accident in 2002.

Hubbard denies murder.

Mr Khalil said Hubbard began a relationship with Miss Roberts, a case management officer at Norwich Magistrates' Court, after his marriage broke down in 2007.

He said Hubbard had a history of violence and had become “irritable and depressed” after suffering “significant” head injuries in a road accident in 2002.

Mr Khalil said Hubbard was also known to be “jealous and erratic” and evidence suggested that Miss Roberts and been thinking about “moving away” shortly before she was killed.

He added that Hubbard was well-known at a local pub, the Prince of Denmark.

He said: “Paul Hubbard had something of a reputation. He was someone to have as a friend rather than an enemy. His drinking was becoming serious and his temper was noted to be deteriorating.”

He said Miss Roberts disappeared in early May, causing relatives and friends to become concerned.

Hubbard had suggested she was visiting friends in London and “up North”.

Her body was found after relatives raised the alarm and police searched her home.

Shortly after she vanished, Hubbard spoke of having won money gambling. But Mr Khalil said evidence suggested that he had taken hundreds of pounds from Miss Roberts' bank account.

The trial continues today.


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