Handsworth Man ‘Hid Body Under Floor’

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A court has been told a man hid his girlfriend’s body under the floorboards of his lounge in Birmingham.

Stephen Devesey, 21, denies murdering 18-year-old new mum Nicole Cartmell and is on trial.

Her body was found at a house on Whateley Road in Handsworth nearly three weeks after she went missing on Valentines Day last year.

Opening the case against Devesey to a jury at Birmingham Crown Court, prosecutor Timothy Barnes QC claimed the 21-year-old had repeatedly lied to police, Miss Cartmell’s mother and other people about her whereabouts.

Alleging that Devesey killed Miss Cartmell by asphyxiating her shortly after she made a “frightened” 999 call on February 10 last year, Mr Barnes told the court:

“What caused him to kill her on that day we do not know.

“When he had killed her, the defendant prised up some floorboards in the front room of his address and dropped the body into the cellar some 7ft below.

“He covered the body with layers of clothing and rubbish and there over successive weeks the body decomposed, giving rise to unpleasant smells which the defendant tried to mask with the aid of incense sticks.”

At the start of what is expected to be a two-week trial, jurors also heard allegations that Devesey used the victim’s bank card on four occasions between her death and the discovery of her body at his home in Whateley Road on March 2 last year.

Devesey is also said to have flirted with a woman he met on Facebook in the days after the alleged murder, changing his relationship status from “engaged” to “it’s complicated”.

Urging the jury to consider the “persistent lies” told by Devesey to distance himself from the fact of Miss Cartmell’s death, Mr Barnes said: “The Crown say he acted from the outset in a calculating and devious manner designed to allay the suspicions of those who wanted to know where Nicky was, and concerned to cover up the enormity of what he himself had done.”

Devesey, who denies murdering Miss Cartmell on a day between February 10 and March 2 last year, had contact with social workers and housing officials in the weeks after he allegedly killed her.

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