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Binman, 47, ‘bludgeoned lover, 52, to death with plastic tray during drunken row’, trial hears

A binman told police he bludgeoned his partner to death with a plastic tray during a drunken row in lockdown, a court heard.   

Wayne Morris, 47, also sent harrowing text messages days after battering Ruth Brown, 52, at her home in Collyer Avenue, Bognor, at the beginning of April last year, Lewes Crown Court in Brighton heard.

He messaged his brother asking him to look after his daughter and said: ‘I’m in Wales by the beach, please be there for Skye she’ll need you more than you’ll ever know as I’ve killed Ruth.’

Wayne Morris, 47, told police he bludgeoned his partner Ruth Brown, 52, (pictured together) to death with a plastic tray during a drunken row in lockdown, a court heard

In a message to Ms Brown’s daughter Lauren, 22, the furloughed binman said: ‘Hi princess, you know I love you, not in a very good situation at the moment but I think you need to get the police around to your mums, because she is not in a very good way.

‘I didn’t mean to do anything, I’m leaving Bognor, I’m turning my phone off.’

He texted his daughter Skye on April 11 saying: ‘Hi princess I’m not in a very good situation and I’m leaving Bognor behind me as I have no other choice, you take care of yourself and stay strong and safe.’ 

He told Ms Brown’s son, 16, that his mother was still in bed as she had too much to drink the night before. 

Ruth Brown, who was described as feisty, had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a lung inflammation) and was classed as vulnerable during the pandemic.

He also sent harrowing text messages days after battering Ms Brown (pictured) at her home in Collyer Avenue, Bognor, at the beginning of April last year, Lewes Crown Court in Brighton heard

He also sent harrowing text messages days after battering Ms Brown (pictured) at her home in Collyer Avenue, Bognor, at the beginning of April last year, Lewes Crown Court in Brighton heard

She lived with her son Arran in Bognor Regis in West Sussex.

Long-term partner Morris moved in when the first coronavirus national lockdown was announced in March last year.

Neighbours heard loud banging coming from the house on Wednesday, April 8, a jury heard. 

Mr Morris told police he found his partner lying face down on the kitchen floor the morning after a night of heavy drinking. He told police the couple were drunk and argued.

‘She was giving me grief,’ Mr Morris told police.

He messaged his brother asking him to look after his daughter and said: 'I'm in Wales by the beach, please be there for Skye she'll need you more than you'll ever know as I've killed Ruth.' Pictured: Police at the scene

He messaged his brother asking him to look after his daughter and said: ‘I’m in Wales by the beach, please be there for Skye she’ll need you more than you’ll ever know as I’ve killed Ruth.’ Pictured: Police at the scene

‘We had an argument. I don’t remember what it was about.

‘Normally I would walk home but because of the lockdown I couldn’t go home, so I said ”F*** you I’m sleeping in the spare room”.

‘In the morning on Thursday I came down the stairs and I saw that Ruth was laying face-down on the floor in the kitchen.

‘I went to check her pulse but as I lifted her arm I saw rigour mortis has already set in. There was a broken plastic tray on the floor next to her.

‘There was blood on the floor and on the kitchen door. I panicked. I loved her, and I was responsible.

‘I must have done it because nobody else could have done it.’

In a message to Ms Brown's daughter Lauren, 22, the furloughed binman said: 'Hi princess, you know I love you, not in a very good situation at the moment but I think you need to get the police around to your mums, because she is not in a very good way. 'I didn't mean to do anything, I'm leaving Bognor, I'm turning my phone off'

In a message to Ms Brown’s daughter Lauren, 22, the furloughed binman said: ‘Hi princess, you know I love you, not in a very good situation at the moment but I think you need to get the police around to your mums, because she is not in a very good way. ‘I didn’t mean to do anything, I’m leaving Bognor, I’m turning my phone off’

Morris said he moved Ms Brown to her bed and cleaned up the kitchen before returning to his own house nearby.

‘I left her there for a couple of hours then I picked her up and carried her upstairs to her bed, lay her in the bed and pulled the covers over her, leaving just a bit of her hair showing.

‘I think I didn’t want to see her so then I didn’t have to think about what had happened.’

On Saturday, he took a hovercraft to the Isle of Wight where police arrested him the next day.

There is no dispute Mr Morris caused the injuries which killed his partner, Philip Bennetts QC told a jury.

There is no dispute Mr Morris caused the injuries which killed his partner, Philip Bennetts QC told a jury

There is no dispute Mr Morris caused the injuries which killed his partner, Philip Bennetts QC told a jury

The couple had been together for five years and had a turbulent relationship, the court heard.

The couple would drink heavily together at weekends when Mr Morris was not working. In a statement read to the court, daughter Lauren said her mother was not very nice when she was drunk.

She said: ‘She would start arguments and take things out on people. She would take things the wrong way easily. They did split up once or twice but only for a few days.

‘I think the relationship was good and mum seemed happy. Mainly mum would start arguments and he would walk away. He had moved in to help her out with stuff as she has COPD.

‘I ran from the house screaming when her mum was found dead.’  

A broken plastic tray and bloodstains were found at the house.

Wayne Morris denies murder.

The trial continues.


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