Tyne & Wear

Accused claims Alice Ruggles killing was 'accident'

Alice Ruggles Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Alice Ruggles was found dead at her flat in October

A soldier accused of cutting his ex-girlfriend's throat is claiming a combination of "self-defence and accident", a court has heard.

L/Cpl Trimaan "Harry" Dhillon denies murdering 24-year-old Alice Ruggles at her flat in Gateshead in October.

The defendant claims she tripped after lunging at him with a carving knife, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

A Home Office pathologist said Mr Dhillon's account was "inconsistent" with her findings of the injuries.

Prosecutor Richard Wright QC said the 26-year-old signaller for the 2 Scots initially told police he had not gone into the flat.

But his story changed when Ms Ruggles' blood was found on his Help For Heroes wristband and the steering wheel of his BMW.

Mr Wright said the soldier, who had been warned by the Army and police to stay away from his ex, claimed Miss Ruggles came at him with the knife after a row.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Alice Ruggles was found dead at her home in Rawling Road by her flatmate

He said he put her in a headlock to restrain her and she collapsed in the bathroom, falling on some scales and cutting her nose.

When he told her he was going to meet a woman in Durham, he said she grabbed the knife again and lunged at him, hitting her head on the sink and pushing the knife into her throat as she lost her balance.

He then drove back to his barracks near Edinburgh.

Mr Dhillon claimed he suffered flashbacks over a helicopter crash in Afghanistan and panicked, the court heard.

Mr Wright said the defendant claimed it was a "combination of self-defence and accident".

'Unsurvivable'

Pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton found Ms Ruggles' neck had been sliced or slashed at least six times, with her carotid artery, windpipe and voice box cut through to her spine.

There were also cuts to her hands which appeared to be defence wounds.

Her injuries were "unsurvivable", Dr Bolton told the court.

Jurors previously heard Ms Ruggles, originally from Leicestershire, broke up with Mr Dhillon after he started messaging other women on dating sites.

The trial continues.

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