A court has heard that an alleged murderer who strangled a 52-year-old woman reportedly lived with her body for over a month in her apartment until detectives discovered it.
Antoinette Donnegan, 52, was allegedly murdered by Kristian Smith, 41, at her residence in Wandsworth, southwest London, Daily Mail reports.
While the woman was killed on either February 1st or 2nd this year, investigators found her body only on March 7, the court heard. Post mortem examination revealed that Donnegan had been strangled, had seven broken ribs, and sustained a deep gash to her head.
Smith, who appeared on March 20 at the Old Bailey Court via video link in a maroon prison jumpsuit, was charged with fraud and preventing a lawful burial. His virtual court appearance was only to confirm his name, age, and nationality.
"The prosecution would say at this stage, this looks to be a vicious attack against the victim in the course of which she was strangled and left for dead and he carried about his normal business until the police found her," said Paul Jarvis, prosecuting. "Whoever did attack her took certain steps to prevent the smell of the decomposing body leaving the room in which she was found," Judge Wendy Joseph, QC, added, revealing further details.
Smith, who has no permanent address per records, is set to return to the court on June 4 for a plea and trial preparation hearing, months before a two-week trial begins on September 9. That said, Antoinette Donnegan's death has brought the number of homicides in London this year to 25.
“She was a nice, normal lady," a neighbor said of Donnegan. "The police as far as we know had never been to the flat before and she was a good neighbor. This is a nice block.”
The 52-year-old woman, originally hailing from Ireland, was reportedly living alone in the two-bedroom ground-floor apartment for a number of years.
Nonetheless, authorities are still trying to uncover more details on the incident. "We are keen to speak with anyone who may have been in contact with Antoinette in mid to late-January this year or visited her at her home address during this time," Det Ch Insp John Massey said on Wednesday, BBC reports.