US & Canada

Lacrosse murder trial hears of 'email threat'

George Huguely V, arrives at the courthouse in Charlottesville, VA 8 February 2012
Image caption George Huguely and Yeardley Love were both on the university's lacrosse team

A lacrosse player accused of murdering his girlfriend sent a threatening email to her shortly before she died, a court has heard.

George Huguely V, a former student at the University of Virginia, allegedly killed Yeardley Love in May 2010.

Prosecutors presented the 24-year-old defendant's email as part of a pattern of violence against Love, 22.

Defence lawyers argued Mr Huguely was too drunk the night Love died to have been capable of plotting her murder.

The attorneys argued that the defendant went to her apartment on the night of her death to work things out, not to attack her.

They also disputed claims that Love died of blunt-force trauma after her head hit a wall several times.

Mr Huguely maintains he did not know that Love, who played on the women's lacrosse team, was dead until police informed him.

Image caption Yeardley Love showed an allegedly threatening email to her teammates

In the message sent two days before Love's death, Mr Huguely accused her of having a relationship with a University of North Carolina lacrosse player.

"I should have killed you," the email said, according to prosecutors.

They are expected to call her teammates, who saw the email, to the witness stand.

Mr Huguely and Love dated for two years, but in their final year at the University of Virginia the relationship began to founder.

His defence are expected to play a recorded police interview of Mr Huguely, in an effort to show that he was not capable of calculated murder.

"He's not complicated. He's not complex. He's a lacrosse player," defence lawyer Francis Lawrence said.