Cornwall

Joan Roddam murder case: Suspect 'burned clothes'

Joan Roddam. Pic: Police handout Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Joan Roddam was killed in November 2003 but Patrick Curran was not charged with her murder until last year

A man who killed a 74-year-old woman who rebuffed his sexual advances burned his clothes and a hard drive on the night of the attack, a court has heard.

Patrick Curran strangled Joan Roddam at her bungalow in Delabole, Cornwall, in 2003, Truro Crown Court has been told.

The court heard Mr Curran set fire to "very significant items" and two days later left his family home in Delabole.

Mr Curran, 38, who denies murder, was arrested in March 2014 when police re-opened the investigation.

Simon Laws, for the prosecution, told the jury to imagine what was going through Mr Curran's mind as he walked through Delabole on the morning of the attack, in November 2003.

Mr Laws said: "What lay behind him? A dead woman of an age group he found sexually attractive, covered by a blanket that had his DNA on it.

"She was wearing clothing that had fibres matching not one but two items of clothing he owned."

Image caption Mrs Roddam was found dead in a field at the back of her home in 2003

Mr Laws said the crime scene was "strongly suggestive" of the involvement of a local man.

He said: "In front of him, an evening of setting fires in which he would burn very significant items - clothing and the hard drive from his computer.

"Two days later he would leave town. He was in the right place at the right time to have killed that woman.

"He can only say that all of this has happened by chance. The prosecution say to you nobody could be so unfortunate."

The court previously heard Mr Curran, who was 27 at the time of the alleged attack, had a sexual interest in much older women and that he strangled Mrs Roddam when she rebuffed his sexual advances.

Mr Curran, who is in custody, is being tried in his absence and does not have legal representation.

The trial continues.

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