Killing ‘was not murder’ jury told

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Jurors trying a South Yorkshire music teacher accused of murdering his fiancee and storing her body in a suitcase have been told to put aside ‘emotion and prejudice’ and concentrate on the evidence.

Andrew Lindo, aged 29, who taught music at the Take Two centre in Birdwell, Barnsley, strangled, battered and then stabbed Marie Stewart after accusing her of mistreating their young daughter, Bradford Crown Court heard.

He has admitted manslaughter but denies murdering Miss Stewart on December 18 last year.

Robert Smith QC, defending, said his client was a devoted father who had never been violent in the past. He said the killing was not planned or premeditated.

He said: “What other explanation is there for the killing? That something happened in that house to tip him over the edge.”

He urged the jurors not to speculate on the facts,.

“If you have theories on what happened that night, those theories need to be grounded firmly in evidence.”

Miss Stewart’s body was not found for several weeks. Lindo allegedly used her Facebook profile and her mobile phone to convince her family and friends that she had deserted her young son and daughter and was with a new man.

It was alleged Lindo was living a double life with another woman, Angela Rylance, and was planning a future with her.

Mr Smith told the jury the case was ‘terrible, sad and distressing’ but added: “Once emotion and prejudice are put aside and the evidence examined carefully, there are compelling reasons that Andrew Lindo is not guilty of murder.”

The trial continues.