A man murdered his girlfriend, dumped her in a moorland grave and placed flowers on her body in an act of contrition, a court has heard.
Adrian Muir, 50, then recorded three messages on his phone confessing to killing grandmother Pamela Jackson, from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, while he was contemplating suicide, Newcastle Crown Court was told.
The defendant, from Calder Terrace, Halifax, West Yorkshire, denies murdering his 55-year-old girlfriend.
She disappeared from her family home in The Crescent on Saturday March 3 this year, the jury heard. Her body was found 120 miles away on the moors above Halifax on May 27.
Andrew Robertson QC, prosecuting, said the area of the grave was “bleak West Yorkshire moorland”. When forensic specialists uncovered the burial site, a plastic Tesco bag was found on top of her body, which was left in a foetal position.
“It’s a Tesco bag containing some flowers, perhaps a sign of contrition at that early stage,” Mr Robertson said.
“Pamela Jackson has been buried with a bunch of flowers in a plastic bag. The Tesco bag was examined and a finger print was found on it. Whose finger print was it? Yes, members of the jury, Adrian Muir’s.”
Analysis of Muir’s phone showed it travelled down the A1 on the evening of March 3 from Chester-le-Street, across the Pennines, to the moors where the grave was later found. Muir did not claim anyone else had used his phone, the court heard.
Her blood was discovered at her home, and also in his Kia car, the court heard. Soil samples found in the footwell of his car linked him to the grave site, the jury was told.
“However, despite all that, this defendant refuses to face up to what he has done, refuses to face up publicly to the grievous crime he has committed, hence this trial,” Mr Robertson said.
“There was a time he was prepared to admit, at least privately, that he had murdered Pamela Jackson.
“It seems initially he was so overcome with remorse that he decided to kill himself.”
Mr Robertson said Muir did not leave a suicide note, but “dictated his feelings onto his phone and thus the police were able to eventually retrieve his own recordings of his own voice, we say, confessing to his crime”.
Muir spoke into his phone on the night the prosecution say he buried Ms Jackson and said she “hurt her head” after a row.
In a broad Yorkshire accent, he said his girlfriend told him to leave, claiming she had a split personality.
In a second recording he claimed he had given Ms Jackson thousands of pounds, which she had spent, and that was why she wanted him out of her life.
And in a final message, he claimed he loved Ms Jackson - whom he called Chrissie - but he did a “terrible thing”.
He said: “I have got to do something today to end my life. I cannot go on like this, it’s a nightmare. I’m sorry to everyone but today’s the day, definite.
“I love Chrissie to bits but she isn’t here now and I did a terrible thing.”
Muir had lived with his partner, Susan Drake, for 32 years in Sowerby Bridge but they split after he started a relationship with Ms Jackson when they met on a dating site in April 2012.
Although he often stayed at her home, the relationship was far from settled, Mr Robertson said.
A post-mortem examination revealed Ms Jackson suffered a black eye, bruised nose and lip caused by punches or heavy slaps, the prosecution said. More serious was a fractured skull.
Muir buried her in a “highly professional way” on the moors, Mr Robertson said, then returned to Chester-le-Street, where he was caught on CCTV cleaning the back of his Kia in the car park of a supermarket where he had just bought wipes and fabric cleaner.
The trial continues. It could run until September.