Jury Hears From Victim's Friends In Body Parts Murder Trial

PUBLISHED: 16:51 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:50 06 May 2010

Jeffrey Howe

Jeffrey Howe

THE jury in the Jigsaw murder trial heard evidence today (Friday) from friends of the man allegedly murdered by Stephen Marshall and Sarah Bush. Mr Marshall, 38, formerly of Park Street, St Albans, and Miss Bush, 21, moved into Jeffrey Howe s home in

THE jury in the "Jigsaw" murder trial heard evidence today (Friday) from friends of the man allegedly murdered by Stephen Marshall and Sarah Bush.

Mr Marshall, 38, formerly of Park Street, St Albans, and Miss Bush, 21, moved into Jeffrey Howe's home in Pickard Close, Southgate in November 2008.

His friends became aware that immediately afterwards he was unhappy at them being there but couldn't get them to leave.

The couple were not paying any rent and stealing his food, Stuart Trimmer QC, prosecuting, told St Albans Crown Court.

He went on to say that the couple had hatched a plot to murder Mr Howe and assume his identity to steal his property.

John Moody, who used to work with Jeffrey Howe, described him as a "fun, jovial man who enjoyed people's company" and said he was "a highly professional salesman and a decent bloke".

He first became aware that Mr Howe had problems around Christmas 2008 when he had people living with him whom he did not want there.

Mr Moody said Mr Howe came to know Mr Marshall through working and drinking with him and he had offered him a place to stay when he had nowhere to go.

But Mr Howe told his friend that Mr Marshall was not paying him any rent, had moved his girlfriend Sarah Bush in and was "eating him out of house and home".

Mr Moody said he offered to go round and ask Mr Marshall to leave but his friend said it might make things worse.

Teresa Murray, a former partner of Mr Howe's and to whom he remained close, said she met him at her home at the beginning of January 2009.

She said: "He didn't seem like himself - he was usually joking and laughing but he seemed nervy, talking very fast and seemed to have the world on his shoulders."

Another friend, Paloma Upton, reported him missing to the police after a visit to his flat worried her.

She called to see him at the end of January 2009 and found Mr Marshall and Miss Bush living there.

After repeatedly trying to get hold of him on the phone and hearing from other people that he had gone missing, she phoned the police and reported him as a missing person on March 15.

She said that she had previously told Mr Howe to get rid of the couple if they wouldn't pay him any rent.

Another friend of Mr Howe, Shehryar Khan, told the court how, on March 15 last year, he went to the flat when efforts to contact his friend and colleague failed.

He said Miss Bush, the woman who opened the door, told him she was renting the flat direct through Mr Howe.

"I asked her where Jeff was and she said he just packed up one day and left," said Mr Khan, who went on to say that he found the situation "very, very odd."

The court also heard today of a fraudulent housing benefit claim made by Miss Bush. It was claimed that in the weeks before the murder of kitchen salesman Jeffrey Howe, she pretended to be living alone at his flat and was entitled to housing benefits.

Miss Bush, 21, and Mr Marshall, 38, plead not guilty to murdering Mr Howe, 49, at his flat in Pickard Close, Southgate, last March.

Mr Marshall has however pleaded guilty to dismembering and disposing of the body parts.

The jury have been told that, after having stabbed Mr Howe to death, the pair were jointly involved in chopping up the body and scattering the various parts throughout Hertfordshire and Leicestershire.

Case proceeding.

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