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Prostitute 'murdered with belt during sex'

By Danny Boyle
Jennie Banner
Jennie Banner

A drug addict strangled a woman with a belt during a sex session and then claimed she had done it herself, a court heard.

Marcus Coates left Jennie Banner’s body under a duvet in her bedroom with the belt tightly fastened around her neck, wearing only a T-shirt, it was alleged.

Coates did not report the matter until five days after her death and her body was then found at her Chatham flat.

"The Crown say this is a case of murder," said Christopher May, prosecuting. "The defendant, however, claims this happened by accident.

"It was not he who tightened the belt, though he was there and present. It is the Crown’s case this was not an accident but an unlawful and deliberate killing."

Miss Banner, who was 32, had worked as a prostitute, but was not interested in bondage or "auto-erotic asphyxiation", Mr May told Maidstone Crown Court.

Coates, 43, went to her home in a block of flats at Five Ways Court on August 14 last year.

Jennie Banner's body was found in a flat in this block in Chatham High Street
Jennie Banner's body was found in a flat in this block in Chatham High Street

Jennie Banner's body was found in a flat in this block in Chatham High Street

He claimed later they took drugs together in the living room and she then asked him to put the belt around her neck during sexual activity and she then pulled it tight.

Coates said he performed sex acts on her and he was unable to release the belt.

"According to him it was a tragic accident - an explanation the Crown entirely rejects," said Mr May.

"Once he realised she had died, what did he do? He moved her body from the living room to the bedroom, where he put her on her bed and put a duvet over her body, which was naked from the chest down, leaving her wearing only a T-shirt pushed up over her breasts.

Jennie Banner's funeral
Jennie Banner's funeral

Jennie Banner's funeral was very well attended

"He left her with the belt securely fastened around her neck."

The prosecutor told the jury of six men and six women that Coates had on his mobile phone a photo of his ex-wife Marina Raghunath wearing a dog collar around her neck.

She will give evidence, he said, that it was something Coates enjoyed doing in their marriage to restrict her airway for erotic reasons.

Coates, of Ernest Road, Chatham, denies murder and manslaughter.

The trial continues.

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