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Murder defendant tells court of series of relationships before victim's sister

The trial is continuing of a man accused of stabbing a chef from Odiham to death at a south London flat

Henry Stangroom

A financial expert accused of killing his girlfriend's brother admitted telling a long-term partner he had leukaemia so he could have a child with another woman, a court heard this week.

A jury at the Old Bailey has been told that Andrew Morris knifed 21-year-old Henry Stangroom, from Odiham, "in revenge" after being dumped by his sister, and then shot himself with a harpoon gun.

Mr Morris is said to have repeatedly stabbed Mr Stangroom in the south London flat they had once shared with the victim's sister Michelle, on October 18 last year.

Former Lord Wandsworth College pupil Mr Stangroom, whose family live in Rye Common, suffered fatal wounds to the heart, lungs and head.

Mr Morris met Miss Stangroom while she was working as a receptionist at Pensioners First and the pair began an affair, despite him having a child with another woman.

More coverage:
Murder defendant 'used concoction of drink and drugs'
Man 'attacked girlfriend before stabbing her brother'
Chef 'killed by sister's revengeful ex', court told 

On Monday (April 28), the defendant told jurors of several relationships he had all going on at the same time between January 2010 and when he got together with Miss Stangroom a year later.

The court was told Mr Morris had just ended a long-term relationship with Ruth Owen, who he told he had leukaemia so he could have a child with Laura Teague.

"Laura rang me after four or five weeks and said that she was pregnant and that we needed to have a conversation about it," he said.

"Laura decided she wanted to keep the baby and having told Ruth before about a pregnancy scare with Rosie, a former housemate, I was aware how upsetting it was.

"In fact during our reconciliation she told me the only thing I could have done during our time apart that would be unforgivable was to make another woman pregnant.

"I didn't want to hurt her so I told her, because one of my friends from school suffered from leukaemia, so I told her that I had that.

"I saw it as a sign that things weren't meant to be with Ruth and I decided the best thing to do was to purchase a house for myself and Laura to look after our child in."

Ed Willcox, Central News
Michelle Stangroom arriving at the Old Bailey
 

The court was told that although Mr Morris was earning good money he had little savings and had to borrow £15,000 from Ms Teague's millionaire father to put a deposit on a house in St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

The move was finalised by October 2010, which coincided with the start of Mr Morris' fling with Miss Stangroom.

He said: "I know that I wasn't, at that time, in love with Laura.

"I cared for her deeply, however it was apparent to me that it was unlikely that a long-term relationship was going to come out of the fact that she was pregnant."

Harpoon spear

Mr Morris said he and Miss Stangroom got together one night.

"It was meant to be a one-off in October and I said to her afterwards that this could not happen again as I have responsibilities now and I think she understood.

"It happened again though and started to happen in increasing frequency from October through to Christmas.

"Laura became aware of it and it was probably around February-time before our son was born."

It is alleged that Mr Stangroom, a chef, was repeatedly stabbed in the heart, lungs and head by the defendant.

The court has heard that Mr Morris was found in the bathroom of the flat with wounds to both wrists and a harpoon spear sticking out from underneath his chin.

He claimed the last thing he could remember was seeing Miss Stangroom three days before.

Mr Morris, of Lavender Sweep, Battersea, denies murder and the trial continues.

 

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