Mum Denies Covering Up For Accused Son
The mother of a man accused of strangling his aspiring model girlfriend in a jealous rage has told a jury she did not help cover up the crime.
Anita Turner, 51, told Winchester Crown Court that her son Elliot did not murder Emily Longley in his bedroom at their home in Bournemouth.
She denied helping to destroy a letter the prosecution alleges was Turner's confession to the crime, or that she knew Emily was dead an hour before an ambulance was called.
She said she removed a family friend's jacket from Turner's bedroom when it was a crime scene, but claimed police officers saw her and she did not believe this was attempting to pervert the cause of justice.
Turner, 20, denies the murder of 17-year-old Emily at the house on Queenswood Avenue in May last year but he admits perverting the cause of justice.
Mrs Turner and her jeweller husband of 22 years, Leigh, 54, both deny perverting the cause of justice.
Giving evidence, Indonesian-born Mrs Turner told the jury that initially Emily had stayed often at the house.
''She was very easy to get along with. She loved to be at ours. She seemed really lovely,'' she explained.
Mrs Turner said Emily had health and emotional problems from her past in New Zealand and that the teenager had confided in her.
Crying, Mrs Turner told the jury she had assured Emily's grandparents, where the teenager lived, that they should not worry about her when she was in her care.
She said that on three occasions she had tried to wake Emily when she was staying in Turner's room but the teenager failed to respond. On one occasion it had taken her 25 minutes to rouse Emily because she had been drinking the night before.
On the morning of May 7, Mrs Turner said her son woke her up and asked if she could wake up Emily.
Feeling ''sluggish and disorientated'', she went to the room.
''I called her name. Emily was asleep with the duvet (on her). She didn't wake up so I just tapped on the duvet. I called, 'Emily, Emily, wake up, wake up'. She didn't wake up. I didn't think anything at all. I made a cup of tea and I still called her.
''I climbed on the side (of the bed). I tried to let her sip the tea but her mouth would not move. I called Elliot and we were both trying to wake her - we kept shaking her.
''I said, 'there is something really wrong - she does not move'.
''He (Turner) said, 'I think she got a terrible, terrible headache last night'.
''I didn't know what to do. I called my husband.''
Mrs Turner was asked why she did not call an ambulance and she replied that at that point she did not believe Emily was dead.
She then said she peeled an orange in the hope the aroma would wake Emily when she put it under her nose.
She added that her son was ''really gobsmacked'' by what had happened.
The next day Mrs Turner and her husband were allowed inside the house by police to collect some belongings and she told the jury she went into Turner's room when she saw the family friend's coat.
''I swear to God, I didn't think anything at all (about it),'' she told the jury.
She said she put the jacket in a suitcase and asked a police officer to check it.
Under cross-examination, Mrs Turner was asked if she thought Emily had ruined her son's life. After a pause of six seconds she replied: ''No.''
She said she knew nothing about the letter at the time her husband found it and ripped it up.
She told the court she did not know what was in it and she denied helping to destroy it to cover her son's alleged crime.
Asked if she knew straight away that Emily was dead, Mrs Turner said no.
She was then asked if her son told her he ended Emily's life on the morning of Saturday May 7, and again Mrs Turner said no.
The prosecution alleges that heavily built Turner strangled the part-time Topshop assistant and that he was a violent and jealous boyfriend, fearful she was being unfaithful.
He went ''absolutely nuts'', it is claimed, in a culmination of a month of anger and upset over his suspicions that she was ''twisting his heart''.
When arrested he had his passport in his pocket and his bags packed, the court heard.
He told paramedics the couple had argued and Emily had attacked him and he defended himself and then when he woke up she was dead.
He told officers at the scene: ''I never meant to harm her, I just defended myself.'' He then made no comment in police interviews.
Computers seized from the home had Google searches for ''death by strangulation'' and ''how to get out of being charged for murder''.
Police bugged the £350,000 family home and recorded Turner and his parents ''fabricating evidence'' and being worried about lying to the police.
Mr Turner, who runs a jewellery shop his son works in part-time, is alleged to have destroyed a letter it was said his son had written saying he killed Emily.
He and Mrs Turner deny perverting the course of justice.
Emily was born in Britain but her family emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand, when she was nine.
She had returned to live with her grandparents in Bournemouth to study when she died.