THE trial of five young people alleged to have beaten and killed a Rugby woman whose body was found on a disused railway line is expected to last up to six weeks.
Chantelle Booth, Daniel Newstead, Duncan Edwards, Joe Boyer and Jessica Lynas all pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the murder of 27-year-old Gemma Hayter on August 9.
Ms Hayter’s body was found on a stretch disused railway line between Hillmorton Road and Pytchley Road in Rugby at around 5.30 in the morning on that day.
It was believed Ms Hayter, of Biart Place, Rugby, had been attacked and badly beaten, but the actual cause of her death was not established by a preliminary post mortem.
Booth (22), Newstead (20), Boyer (18) and Lynas (18) all of Old Works Court, Little Pennington Street, Rugby, and Edwards (19) of Rounds Gardens, Rugby, also denied assaulting Ms Hayter in a flat on the day before she was killed.
Told that a defence case statement had not yet been served on behalf of Boyer, Mrs Justice Dame Julia Macur said: “That is not acceptable.
“There are five young people awaiting trial for the most serious of offences in the most despicable circumstances. I need to know what the issues are.”
Following an adjournment she heard that all five of the defendants ‘accept presence’ but not responsibility for the attacks on Ms Hayter.
Mrs Justice Macur observed: “There is no issue that she was subjected to unlawful violence; the issue is perpetrator, joint enterprise and whether there are secondary parties and principal parties to that enterprise.”