Murder accused "dropped woman at supermarket after she swore at him" court hears
A cash-and-carry boss accused of murdering his store's marketing manager last saw her when he dropped her off near a supermarket after she swore at him, his lawyer has told a court.
In an opening speech to jurors trying Roger Cooper, defence barrister Mukhtar Hussain accused prosecutors of deploying "imaginary and erroneous" speculation against his client.
Cooper, 41, and his brother David, 38, both deny murdering Sameena Imam on Christmas Eve last year.
Ms Imam, who was having a relationship with Roger Cooper, was allegedly killed using chloroform after being driven to his brother's home in Hughenden Drive, Leicester.
The body of the 34-year-old Costco marketing manager, who lived in Cardiff, was found buried on David Cooper's allotment in January.
At the start of Roger Cooper's defence case, Mr Hussain claimed Ms Imam was in a good mood after travelling from Coventry to Leicester but suddenly went rigid after a comment made by David.
Mr Hussain told jurors: "There is no dispute by Roger Cooper that he was having an affair with Sameena Imam.
"On Christmas Eve, you will hear from Roger Cooper, he told her he was going over to his brother's house."
The defence QC told jurors at Birmingham Crown Court that Ms Imam had travelled to Leicester in Roger Cooper's car after asking if she could join him.
But after Ms Imam's arrival in Leicester, according to Roger Cooper's account, she hurried back to the car and sat in a rear seat.
Mr Hussain went on: "She was shouting at Roger Cooper.
"She was angry about the lack of trust and respect and told Roger Cooper that he had crossed the line.
"She was sobbing, crying, shouting, hysterical. She clearly thought, you may think, that her privacy had been invaded when he had asked his brother to go and spy on her."
By the time Ms Imam and Roger Cooper, of Tilehurst Drive, Coventry, neared the end of the M69 she was extremely angry and demanded that he stop the car so she could get a taxi.
"She did not want to be near him a moment longer," Mr Hussain said. "He stopped at a Tesco. She gathered up her things and stormed off. That was the last he saw of her."
During his opening remarks in the fourth week of the trial, Mr Hussain submitted that Roger Cooper, who managed Costco's Coventry warehouse, lost "all trust and faith" in the police after his mobile phone was seized.
The lawyer told the jury of ten men and two women: "You may think that the prosecution theories began to unravel as soon as you started to hear the evidence."
After Mr Hussain had addressed the jury, Roger Cooper entered the witness box and gave the court details of his career at Costco.
The former shelf-stacker told how he joined Costco from Asda in the mid-1990s, initially working in Watford before transferring to stores in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Aberdeen, London and Bristol.
The case continues on Friday.