Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Sarah Wellgreen murder trial: Jury visit key sites in New Ash Green

ByJulia Roberts

The jury in the trial of the man accused of murdering mum-of-five Sarah Wellgreen have visited the home where it is alleged she spent her last moments alive this morning.

The eight men and four women arrived in New Ash Green accompanied by Judge Christopher Kinch QC and lawyers for the prosecution and defence, a day after the prosecution opened their case.

Jury visits New Ash Green as man stands accused of murdering Sarah Wellgreen

The visit came just a week before the first anniversary of her disappearance.

It also included the jurors tracing the isolated route the beautician's former partner Ben Lacomba, 39, is alleged to have driven in his taxi in the early hours of October 10 last year to dispose of her body.

The prosecution say his Vauxhall Zafira with distinctive All Night Cars logo on the side was captured on eight cameras between 2.13am and 4.27am as he drove away from his home, out into Hartley Bottom, towards the village of Stansted, and then back home.

But in that time there was a two-hour gap in which his whereabouts were unknown, it is alleged.

The jury and court officials arrive for a site visit in New Ash Green for the Sarah Wellgreen murder trial (18304989)
The jury and court officials arrive for a site visit in New Ash Green for the Sarah Wellgreen murder trial (18304989)

The couple had been living together at the time for the sake of their children but led separate lives, the court heard.

Lacomba denies murder, claiming he was in bed asleep all night before waking at 7am to find Sarah, who was 46 at the time, missing.

But the prosecution say Lacomba murdered her in a 'premeditated and calculated act', and may have been motivated by the potential loss of his property and resulting limited contact with the children.

The legal proceedings taking place at London's Woolwich Crown Court transferred to the leafy village, having heard the prosecution open their case against Lacomba the previous day.

The jurors, counsel, judge, court clerk and ushers arrived in two blacked out minibuses shortly before 11am, escorted by Kent Police vehicles. Lacomba was not required to attend.

Police in Bazes Shaw in New Ash Green, before the arrival of the jury in the Sarah Wellgreen murder trial(18304978)
Police in Bazes Shaw in New Ash Green, before the arrival of the jury in the Sarah Wellgreen murder trial(18304978)

There was a heavy police presence as they pulled into Bazes Shaw, made up of small rows of terraced houses and detached bungalows.

Sarah and Lacomba lived at number 22 and the trial convened in the public car park directly outside the side of their house.

Led by prosecutor Alison Morgan QC, the party were told that Sarah's vehicle was parked there on the night of October 9 and 10.

She then pointed out the house and where the CCTV system, described in court as elaborate and operating by infrared light, ran along the side brick wall.

It is alleged Lacomba turned it off at 00.12am on October 10.

Police in Bazes Shaw before the arrival of the jury in the Sarah Wellgreen murder trial
Police in Bazes Shaw before the arrival of the jury in the Sarah Wellgreen murder trial

The jury was then taken on foot to a neighbour's property, number 23, where Lacomba is said to have inquired about its security cameras and the area covered by them in the summer of last year.

At the time there was a camera at the front of the house and one at the rear and both locations were pointed out by Miss Morgan.

She explained the front camera had provided the footage of Bazes Shaw seen in court during the opening.

The jury were also shown the car parking spot where Lacomba is said to have parked the night of October 9, away from his usual parking place nearer his home, and the route he might have used between the car and number 22.

It is alleged that Lacomba's return to Bazes Shaw at 4.52am, having disposed of Sarah's body, was captured by cameras showing the flash of his vehicle lights as it was locked.

Police in Bazes Shaw before the arrival of the jury in the Sarah Wellgreen murder trial
Police in Bazes Shaw before the arrival of the jury in the Sarah Wellgreen murder trial

The jury was also shown another path and alleyway near the property along with other aspects of hedges and fences nearby.

After 20 minutes of viewing the scene, the jurors were then taken back onto the minibuses to trace the route Lacomba is alleged to have driven in the early hours of the morning.

His car is alleged to have been captured by CCTV at Blue Firs and Orchard House, which the jury walked between, before minibuses took them along Church Road and the outskirts of New Ash Green, into the narrow, winding lanes of Hartley Hill, Hartley Bottom Road, past an area known as Cuckold Corner, onto Pease Hill and then towards Stansted along Plaxdale Green Road - all locations where Lacomba's vehicle was spotted.

At the eighth location, identified as Littlefields, the prosecutor said: "The prosecution say the defendant's car was seen here at 2.20am and 52 secs on October 10, about nine seconds after the last sighting.

"However, the prosecution do not know whether the vehicle captured at 2.20 am and 52 secs carried on down this road, Plaxdale Green Road, on the night of October 9 and 10 or if it turned off somewhere."

She explained that the road led to the Hilltop Hotel and a junction 'leading in several different directions."

The trial continues.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More