Northampton murder trial shown DIY store visit after alleged murder

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Nicholas BillinghamImage source, Northamptonshire police
Image caption,
Nicholas Billingham's remains were found months after he was allegedly killed by his girlfriend Fiona Beal

A teacher bought compost and decorative stones after allegedly murdering her partner, whose body was found buried in their garden, a court has heard.

The partly mummified remains of Nicholas Billingham, 42, were found in Northampton in March last year, four months after he was last seen alive.

CCTV footage played to jurors at Northampton Crown Court showed Fiona Beal visiting a B&Q store.

The 49-year-old primary school teacher, of Moore Street, denies murder.

Jurors were shown the pictures from the afternoon of 13 November 2021, 12 days after she is alleged to have stabbed Mr Billingham in the neck.

She was seen being assisted by a member of staff with two trollies carrying bags of compost and stones, and a light-coloured plastic planter.

The jury heard the goods were picked up from the click-and-collect area of the store at Nene Valley Retail Park after being pre-ordered.

Media caption,

Northampton teacher's murder trial shown video of her buying compost

Last week the court was told Mr Billingham was found wrapped in carpet under layers of masonry and wood chippings.

Prosecutors told the trial Ms Beal stabbed her partner in the neck after telling the school where she worked she had tested positive for Covid.

The defendant, who worked at Northampton's Eastfield Academy as a Year 6 teacher, was absent from work between 1 and 12 November 2021.

Her defence said it was not contested she had unlawfully killed her partner, but she had been manipulated by the "psychologically domineering" Mr Billingham to the point where she was "broken" and was not in the right state of mind.

A pathologist concluded Mr Billingham died from a single stab wound to the right-hand side of his neck, which cut through the jugular vein.

The trial continues.

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