Man denies murdering his wife

Victim Shana Cover
Victim Shana Cover

A Rugby man took a detour on his way home from shopping in the town centre – to go his estranged wife’s home and brutally murder her, prosecutors believe.

Owen Williams’s wife Shana Cover was found a week later, slumped against the sofa in the living room of her flat in Morton Gardens, Rugby, with her neck ‘almost completely severed.’

Williams (50) of Grizedale, Brownsover, Rugby, has pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to murdering 34-year-old Ms Cover in August last year.

Prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith told the jury of seven women and five men that Ms Cover, who worked at St Cross Hospital and was also doing a degree at Coventry University, moved to Morton Gardens after she and Williams separated last year.

“That is where we start when, on the 14th of August, a parcel was delivered to Shana Cover. She signed for it at eight minutes past three, and the driver described her as quite jolly.

“She stayed within that address during the course of the afternoon, and her last phone call ended at 5.34.

“The prosecution case is that within minutes of that she was dead, killed in her own home.

“Her attacker had almost completely severed her head from her body, which was found a week later on August 21.

“People had been trying to get in touch with her, without success, which led to people going to her home and forcing entry.”

Following the discovery of her body, which was slumped against the sofa in the living room, a police investigation began, and her flat was carefully examined.

Mr Grieves-Smith said there was no evidence her killer had forced entry, or that it was a burglary that had gone wrong – because her laptop and other items were still there.

The only things missing were the flat keys and her two phones, although evidence would suggest they had remained at the flat until August 17.

Williams, who worked as a chef at the Bell and Barge Harvester in Leicester Road, near his home, was arrested that day.

He said he had been into Rugby town centre shopping on the 14th until about 4.45 when he drove home on a route which took him along Clifton Road and then Murray Road.

He was granted bail while the investigation continued, but his car was taken by the police to be examined.

And Mr Grieves-Smith told the jury: “In it was an air freshener, and on that was found the blood of Shana Cover.

“The boots he was wearing were also taken, and were found to have the blood of Shana Cover on them; and in due course his fingerprints and his footprints were found in the flat.

“The defendant was arrested again on the 27th of August. A knife was found in his garage, a knife which had the blood of Shana Cover on it.”

Mr Grieves-Smith said officers also examined Williams’s claim about his movements on the 14th – and it is alleged that both CCTV footage and mobile phone cell site analysis show he had lied.

He pointed out: “The police investigation did not reveal any witnesses who saw the killer enter or leave the block of flats, but there are a number of strands of evidence.

“The prosecution case is that examination of those strands of evidence will make you sure of his guilt.

“Shana Cover was murdered in her own home. She was killed as a result of a savage and determined attack, and her body lay undisturbed for a week.

“The key issue in this case is whether the prosecution have made you sure it was this defendant who was responsible.”

Of the couple’s background, he said Ms Cover was born in Jamaica in 1980 and was brought up by an aunt, rather than by her mother Yvonne Rose who had a relationship with Williams before coming to this country in 1998.

Williams and Ms Cover then began a relationship and married in Jamaica in 2007 before coming here the following year.

The prosecutor said that when she took the tenancy of the flat in March last year after they split up, Ms Cover was given a single set of keys, which the police could not find in the flat.

Cell site analysis showed her phones had remained in the flat for another three days, and the jury was told: “We suggest they were taken because they contained information which would identify the killer.”

Cell site analysis of Williams’s phone showed a call to Ms Cover at 9.34pm on August 13 had gone via a mast which would pick up the call if he was phoning from his home.

But a further call at around 11.15 went via a mast in Albert Street, covering an area including Morton Gardens, before two further calls shortly before midnight from the Brownsover Lane mast near his home.

The following day Williams was at home or at work until three in the afternoon, and at 3.22 he called Ms Cover again.

CCTV evidence showed he then drove to the town centre where he visited various shops, including Argos where he bought a pair of binoculars and a phone.

He returned to his car and set off at 4.40 along a route which was covered by ‘quite an astonishing number of CCTV cameras which picked up his car moving along.’

In his interview Williams said he drove out of town and turned left along Murray Road at a junction which Mr Grieves-Smith observed was ‘getting very close to the home of Shana Cover.’

A CCTV camera showed him close to the junction at 4.43, and if he had turned into Murray Road as he said, another camera would have picked up his car – but it did not.

“In fact the next time the car is seen is at 5.52 on Murray Road. It proves his account is a lie.

“What it does show him doing at eight minutes to six is starting to go down Murray Road.”

“In relation to that missing hour, the evidence provides an explanation for where he went,” alleged Mr Grieves-Smith.

The trial continues.