Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Gosport house fire death: Murder accused 'tortured victim'

Kelly Case Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Kelly-Ann Case was found dead at her home by firefighters

A sex attacker bound and tortured a mother-of-three before cutting her throat and setting her house on fire, a court has heard.

The body of Kelly-Anne Case, 27, was found by firefighters at her home in Grange Crescent in Gosport, Hampshire, on 30 July.

Further neck injuries were inflicted on her after her death, Winchester Crown Court heard.

Brendan Rowan-Davies, 29, of Haslar Road, Gosport, denies murder and arson.

William Mousley QC, prosecuting, said the pattern of Ms Case's injuries strongly suggested she was tortured before being killed.

He said the defendant then started two fires downstairs "in a display of utter disrespect and contempt for her body and to destroy evidence".

Image caption The mother-of-three was discovered at the house in Grange Crescent, Gosport

Mr Mousley said firefighters were called at 08:33 BST to reports of smoke coming from the property.

The flames caused "substantial" damage to the kitchen and living room, he said.

Ms Case's naked body was found on an upstairs bed, with her wrists bound with cable ties, the prosecutor added.

A post-mortem examination confirmed her throat had been cut several times and her neck had been "further mutilated" after death.

Mr Mousley said at least eight shallow neck wounds were inflicted before the murder apparently in order to "control, coerce or terrify Kelly-Anne so perhaps she would do what she was being told".

'Sexual pleasure'

Mr Rowan-Davies had visited the house earlier that morning with a friend, who was one of the victim's sexual partners, the court heard.

Mr Mousley said the defendant returned, armed with a knife, intending "violence and some sort of sexual pleasure".

The court heard Ms Case was "alone and vulnerable" after her three daughters were previously taken into care following intervention from social workers.

Her lifestyle involved alcohol, drugs and frequent visits from friends and other people who were "no more than acquaintances", the jury was told.

Mr Mousley said the defendant might claim during the trial he had disturbed an intruder who had threatened him with a knife before fleeing.

The trial continues.

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