Drug addict denies killing Shaw widow Nellie Geraghty

Frank and Nellie Geraghty
Image caption Nellie Geraghty's handbag contained the ashes of her late husband Frank

A former drug addict accused of killing widow Nellie Geraghty when he stole a handbag containing her husband's ashes has denied the charges.

Mrs Geraghty, 79, was found on the ground still clutching the torn strap of the bag in Shaw, Oldham, in November 2011 and died later in hospital.

Mark Royle, 37, is standing trial for robbery, murder and manslaughter at Manchester Crown Court.

He has denied stealing the bag to fund his drug habit.

Giving evidence at his trial earlier, Mr Royle admitted he was nearby when the attack happened but claimed he was buying and smoking drugs at the time.

Captured on camera

He told the court that he had been committing crimes, including theft from cars, burglaries, breaking into sheds and stealing power tools, on a daily basis.

He denied claims by an acquaintance that Mr Royle told him he had been involved in a "graft", or theft, which had "gone a bit naughty".

The court had heard Mrs Geraghty suffered head injuries likely to have been caused by a kick or stamp.

She was last seen by a neighbour walking from her address in Elizabeth Grove to the nearby community centre in Victoria Street at 11:50 GMT on 24 November last year.

A minute later the defendant was captured on camera cycling away from the area, the court heard.

Mrs Geraghty's husband, Frank, had died some years ago and the jury heard she was so devoted to him she carried his ashes in her shoulder bag when she went out.

The court also heard she would often carry up to £200 in her bag.

The ashes of Frank Geraghty have not been found.

The trial continues.

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