A WOMAN who was killed by her South Yorkshire music teacher partner and left in a suitcase in his garage was an ‘absolutely wonderful mother’, a jury has been told.
Marie Stewart, aged 30, was described as ‘loving’ and ‘caring’, with her two children at the ‘forefront of her mind’.
Andrew Lindo, 29, who taught music at the Take Two centre in Birdwell, Barnsley, has admitted killing Miss Stewart, telling police he strangled, battered and stabbed her before putting her in a suitcase and leaving it in their garage.
He admits manslaughter but denies murder. He claims he killed his partner to protect his daughter, who he claims was being mistreated. Prosecutors say there is no truth to the allegation.
Amanda Utley, who was in a relationship with the victim’s father, Robert, told jurors at Bradford Crown Court she believed the defendant and Miss Stewart were ‘perfectly happy’.
She said they were ‘coping reasonably well’ despite the pressures of moving to a new house with a newborn child.
Asked to describe her, Miss Utley said: “Loving, caring. The children was always at the forefront of her mind. They were her world.
“She was an absolutely wonderful mother, always doing things with the children, talking about them a lot, their progress.”
Prosecutors claim Lindo killed Miss Stewart on December 18 before travelling to Barnsley, where he picked up his lover, Angela Rylance, and brought her back to his house.
Miss Rylance told the court she began a relationship with the defendant earlier in 2010, believing he was a single dad.
Prosecutors say Lindo was leading a double life in the run-up to Miss Stewart’s death.
They say that after he killed his partner, the defendant used her mobile phone and Facebook profile to convince her friends and family she had left him for another man.
Lindo was arrested after Miss Stewart’s sister Katie became suspicious and went to the police with her mother and one of her friends.
The trial continues.