Birmingham & Black Country

Nova Welsh death: Murder accused 'in room to access pipe'

Nova Welsh Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Osmond Bell denies murdering the mother of his two children, Nova Welsh (pictured above)

A man accused of killing his former partner in 1981 has told a court he went into a utility room where her body was found to access a water supply.

The Crown alleges Osmond Bell murdered Nova Welsh at her home in Lighthorne Avenue, Ladywood, Birmingham.

Mr Bell, 60, said he had been in the cupboard up to three times while running a business restoring washing machines from a nearby garage.

He denies murdering the mother of his two children.

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A "one-in-a-billion" DNA profile matching Mr Bell was found after her death on chewing gum used to secure the lock of the cupboard, Birmingham Crown Court has been told.

Mr Bell, of Regent Road, Handsworth, said his relationship with Ms Welsh, 24, ended after arguments about their goals in life.

He told the court he did not know for certain in the summer of 1981 that his former partner was seeing another man.

Asked by his barrister, Jeremy Dein QC, if he had been in the cupboard where Ms Welsh's body was found in August 1981, Mr Bell said he had been into the under-stairs room with his business partner and his brother.

He said: "The very first time we went in was to gain access to the pipe - we were going to attach a hose to the stopcock."

Claiming to have used a discarded piece of gum as a form of filler to secure the door after it was forced open, Mr Bell stated: "We were able to put the keep back on and relocate the screws.

"I have a picture of it as it happened. I re-secured it by using the screws that were there and also used a bit of gum in the place of glue."

The trial continues.

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