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Dead barmaid's hair pulled up like 'a halo

Press AssociationPress Association 28/07/2016

A barmaid who had allegedly been raped and murdered was found dead on a mattress with her hair pulled up around her head like "a halo", a court has heard.

When police smashed their way through the front door of Edward Tenniswood's squalid home in Northampton, they found lifeless India Chipchase upstairs on a mattress on the floor with a sheet pulled over her.

The victim is the 20-year-old daughter of a well known Adelaide doctor Jeremy Chipchase

Tenniswood is said by the crown to have "raped and throttled" the young woman after chancing upon her outside Northampton's NB's nightclub in the early hours of January 30, and taking her back to his house in a cab.

One of the officers had raced straight up the stairs of the terraced property and described finding the young woman in the front bedroom.

Police arrived at the address at about 3.45pm on January 31, after Ms Chipchase had been reported missing, having tracked the woman through her a mobile phone.

PC Steven Knight said: "As I got in the doorway I could see a mattress with a blanket over the top.

"I could see a shape of a figure.

"It was the hair at the top the mattress I could see - black hair.

"The hair was splayed.

"Instead of being down, it was pulled up and around. Sort of a halo."

The constable said he took a corner of the blanket and pulled it away so he could see the face.

Dramatic body camera footage from another officer who followed PC Knight into the room recorded police as they were confronted with the fact that the 20-year-old was past any medical help.

As the reality of what the officers discovered dawns on them, a police woman, off-camera, can be heard to say: "She's gone, she's gone. Shit, she's gone."

Tenniswood has alleged that he managed to charm a woman 30 years his junior into bed with him, but then accidentally killed his victim during "loving" sex by throttling her.

He told a jury: "I, in my over-eagerness to please her, either sustained the pressure just too long or just gripped too tightly."

Self-confessed alcoholic Tenniswood also claimed Ms Chipchase had passionately kissed him first in a "surprise" move while still downstairs, and then during "vigorous love-making" had guided his hands to her throat.

In his account to jurors, he claimed: "Obviously I sustained the pressure too long and that obviously caused the death, in retrospect."

Tenniswood then alleged that he failed to notice Ms Chipchase's lifeless body despite re-fastening the 20-year-old's bra, and re-clothing her, while wearing surgical-type latex gloves, before leaving his victim alone.

Instead of raising the alarm, he went out "for 20 minutes" to get a kebab but then spent the next 22 hours drinking lager in a hotel until police arrested him.

Tenniswood denies the charges and the trial continues.

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