Coventry Murder Accused 'Sent False Texts'

A Coventry cash-and-carry boss murdered his lover and then sent a ``merry Christmas'' text message to her mobile phone, a jury has heard.

Prosecutors allege Roger Cooper also typed out a false text to himself from Sameena Imam's phone to create a cover story that she was still alive.

The Costco store manager is alleged to have enlisted the help of his younger brother David to kill Ms Imam in Leicester on Christmas Eve.

Roger Cooper, from Tilehurst Drive, Coventry, and David Cooper, of Hughenden Drive, Leicester, both deny murdering Ms Imam, a Costco marketing manager.

Addressing jurors on the third day of his opening speech, prosecutor Timothy Spencer QC alleged that Ms Imam was killed between 5.07pm and 6.26pm.

Mr Spencer told Birmingham Crown Court the victim was driven to Leicester by Roger Cooper after they left Costco's Coventry branch minutes apart shortly after 4pm.

At 7.07pm, the court heard, a text was sent from Ms Imam's phone while the handset was in the Coventry area, which read: ``I am fuming. Am going to where I am truly cared for.''

Another message was sent from Roger Cooper's phone to Sameena on Christmas Day wishing her ``Merry Christmas''.

Commenting on the text sent at 7.07pm on Christmas Eve, Mr Spencer told the jury: ``That is a false message, ladies and gentlemen, it is part of a cover-up.''

Suggesting that Roger Cooper intended the text to create the impression that Ms Imam was angry with him for calling off a two-night Christmas stay at Birmingham's Malmaison hotel, Mr Spencer added: ``It is meant, is it not, to support Roger Cooper's story.

``But he had reckoned without the (mobile phone) network tracking Sameena's phone up to Leicester.''

The lawyer told the jury of 10 men and two women: ``He is a calculating man. He would need at some point, wouldn't he, an explanation for why they had not gone to Malmaison together and that is why he needed this text.

``It must have been him who sent it.

``You will be satisfied that Sameena could not have moved back from Leicester and you are very likely to conclude that she was already dead.''

Mr Spencer further alleged that the ``merry Christmas'' text was intended to act as proof that Roger Cooper believed his colleague was alive and well.

Roger Cooper, who having a second affair with another Costco worker, is alleged to have killed Ms Imam after she issued him with an ultimatum to leave his long-term partner.

The body of Ms Imam, 34, was found on David Cooper's allotment in Groby Road, Leicester.

The Crown alleges that the ex-soldier used his plot to conceal the body in the early hours of Christmas Day, after his own partner had arrived home from work.

Mr Spencer said: ``We say that as Christmas Eve moved into Christmas Day, and while the nation awaited the arrival of Christmas morning, David Cooper was moving Sameena Imam to what was intended to be her final resting place.

``The likelihood is he was doing that somewhere after midnight and before dawn.''

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