Sussex

Shana Grice murder trial: Ex-boyfriend 'easy target'

Shana Grice smiling Image copyright Grice family
Image caption Shana Grice was found dead with her throat cut

A man accused of killing his former girlfriend by slitting her throat "is an easy target", jurors have heard.

Michael Lane, 27, of Portslade, east Sussex, who denies murder, was right to fear he would be blamed, his defence counsel Simon Russell Flint QC said.

Shana Grice, 19, was found dead in her bedroom in Portslade last August.

Mr Russell Flint told Lewes Crown Court the defendant did have a history with Miss Grice, but it was "not of violence or causing her harm".

The court has already heard evidence from Mr Lane who admitted finding his ex-girlfriend's body but claimed he went into shock and did not know what to do.

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

In closing arguments, Mr Russell Flint said: "Michael Lane was and still is an easy target. He was right, we suggest, to be scared the finger of blame would be pointed at him.

"He did not subject her to the brutal and callous attack which someone subjected her to on that morning."

He added: "From that first hour after Shana's death, the police believed they had got their man so they didn't even bother to consider anyone else."

Image caption The court heard Michael Lane (right) had refused to accept the breakup

Prosecuting, Philip Bennetts QC asked jurors to decide if Mr Lane was "an innocent man who was panicked or a lying, manipulative killer".

During the trial, jurors heard claims Mr Lane had refused to accept his relationship with Miss Grice had ended and decided no-one else could have her.

Mr Bennetts told jurors Mr Lane had said Miss Grice "would pay" for what she had done, and he added: "She did, with her life, at his hands."

Judge Mr Justice Green told the jury: "You are not here to like or dislike Michael Lane.

"You are also not here to form a personal view about Shana's behaviour. You are here to form an objective view about the evidence."

The trial continues.

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