Sussex

Shana Grice murder trial: Teenager penalised by police

Shana Grice smiling Image copyright Grice family
Image caption Shana Grice's body was found in a smoke-filled room

A teenager complained about her ex-boyfriend to police several times, but was penalised for wasting their time before he went on to murder her, Lewes Crown Court has been told.

Jurors heard Shana Grice contacted the Sussex force over months - but at one stage was given a fixed penalty notice.

Miss Grice, 19, was found with her throat slit in her bedroom, which was set alight in Portslade, East Sussex, last August.

Michael Lane, 27, denies murder.

The prosecution gave a timeline of when police were contacted.

Jurors heard Miss Grice told police in February she was being stalked and Mr Lane had hid outside her home, sent unwanted flowers, and left a note on her new boyfriend's car which said "Shana will always cheat on you".

Image copyright unknown
Image caption Jurors have heard Michael Lane became obsessed with Miss Grice

In March, Mr Lane denied a claim he had assaulted the teenager by pulling her hair and trying to grab her phone, and he showed police messages from Miss Grice saying she wanted to be with him, the court was told.

'Heavy breathing'

But the court was told Miss Grice was given a fixed penalty notice for failing to disclose she had been in a relationship with him, and for "having caused wasteful employment of police by making a false report", while no further action was taken against Mr Lane.

On 9 July, Mr Lane, of Thornhill Rise, Portslade, was cautioned and told to stay away from Miss Grice after he stole a key and let himself into her home to watch her sleep, the court was told.

The next day, Miss Grice reported receiving several calls from a withheld number, including one with heavy breathing, but the court heard Miss Grice was told there were no further lines of inquiry and the case would be left on file.

On 12 July, Miss Grice told police she had been followed by Mr Lane, but the court heard police treated the incident as "low risk".

Image caption Miss Grice's body was found at her home in Chrisdory Road

Opening the defence case, Simon Russell Flint QC asked Mr Lane directly whether he murdered Miss Grice and the defendant replied: "No."

Mr Lane said he had taken Miss Grice's key and let himself in because he wanted to "find out why we ended so abruptly".

He said he was not responsible for letting down Miss Grice's tyres, or making phone calls, but he admitted leaving the note on her boyfriend's car and fitting a tracker device to Miss Grice's car.

He also told the court two days before her death, he had sex with Miss Grice at her home before meeting her in a hotel.

Image caption Michael Lane is alleged to have stalked the teenager for months before the killing

Mr Lane told the court that he had found Miss Grice's body but went into shock and "didn't know what to do".

He said it did not cross his mind to dial 999, and he did not touch her to check whether she was still alive.

He said he had gone round to find out why she had not left for work but found the front door open and he added: "I saw her slumped against the bed. She wasn't moving. I saw blood on the bed and blood on the floor.

"She was in her dressing gown. I thought she was dead. I didn't know what to do."

He said he saw no signs of fire and denied torching the room, and he told the court he had bought petrol because he wanted to kill himself because of depression following his grandfather's death.

He said he went home, told none of his family about the discovery, and "didn't want to get the blame".

Mr Lane said he showered and went to get a lottery ticket checked, but noticed blood on his trainers.

After hearing sirens, he hid his trainers and got rid of a T-shirt, he added.

Jurors heard he went to the dentist and then went to work before being arrested.

Mr Lane admitted in court that he told lies in police interviews.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

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