Stafford Crown Court heard during an on-going trial how Gary Andrew Tyson, 36, of Shirland Street, Chesterfield, allegedly stamped on Gemma Stevens’ head at her home on Catherine Street, Brampton, on March 2, before returning to the blood-spattered property and torching it on March 3.
Tyson, who has admitted killing Gemma Stevens but is denying murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, also allegedly recruited his cousin Jamie Philip Bray, 26, of Kingsclere Walk, Grangewood, Chesterfield, to help destroy evidence at Gemma Stevens’ home and to give the impression she had died in the fire.
Psychiatrist Dr Andrew Bickle told the trial on Monday, October 10, that Tyson is an alcoholic and has been using drugs and has been suffering with depression, suicidal thoughts and panic attacks.
Dr Bickle said: “He strongly suspected Gemma Stevens was having sex with the dealer for crack-cocaine because he thought she was over familiar with the man.
“He said he caught them a few times in the house together but had not discovered them having sex.”
Tyson believed Gemma Stevens was obtaining crack-cocaine in a manner similar to prostitution, according to Dr Bickle, and the couple argued about this on March 2 when she was killed and her home was torched the following day.
The defendant told Dr Bickle he had flushed her cocaine down the toilet during a row and claimed she had struck him but he could not remember any more about the incident due to amnesia.
Pathologist Dr Stuart Hamilton confirmed the 32-year-old, mother-of-three had been killed by an inflicted trauma to the head consistent with a blunt object and the prosecution claim this was from repeated stamping.
Dr Hamilton revealed Gemma Stevens had also suffered a stab wound to her back and there were some signs of attempted strangulation but they were inconsistent.
Prosecuting barrister Michael Auty QC claimed Tyson had subsequently made a clumsy attempt to clean up blood at Gemma Stevens’ home after the killing and argued that he must have struggled to move the body which is why he visited Jamie Bray just before midnight to get help.
Tyson and Mr Bray loitered at the old Robinson’s factory, according to Mr Auty QC, and were seen on Chester Street by CCTV and Mr Auty QC argued they were trying to find out if Gemma Stevens’ body had been discovered.
Resident Ibrar Khan stated he heard wheelie bins moving near the Catherine Street property about 1.30am, on March 3, as well as an alarm and swearing.
A further neighbour, Deaton Josephs, revealed he had heard popping sounds and discovered the house ablaze and alerted the fire service about 2am, on March 3.
Prosecuting barrister Mr Auty QC said: “The fire service quelled as much of the fire as they could to get inside and put the door through and then set about putting the fire out and on the settee in the living room was the body of Gemma Stevens and she was partly burned.
“The instinctive first reaction of the fire service was that it was the fire that had killed her but that was not the purpose of this fire.
“They realised she had sustained serious injuries and noticed wounds above her left eye and lower back and when the smoke died away they noticed obvious blood stains around the downstairs of the property and so a murder enquiry began.”
Tyson refused to comment to police after his arrest.
He pleaded not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility but he has admitted killing Gemma Stevens and has admitted committing arson as to being reckless as to whether life in other properties was endangered.
Mr Auty QC said that Tyson is seeking to rely on diminished responsibility to reduce his liability down to manslaughter.
The prosecuting barrister claims this defence rests on a “hitherto undiagnosed medical condition” which is disputed due to the alleged planning involved to destroy evidence.
Mr Bray claimed during police interviews Tyson had come to his home and he knew nothing of Gemma Stevens’ death and they went out and had a drink behind the back the old Robinson’s factory before going to see if they could be let in at Catherine Street.
He added he had gone to Gemma Stevens’ property with Tyson and been told to keep his head down and keep quiet and he had heard a clicking sound and they walked away and then heard sirens.
Mr Bray later added that Tyson told him a body would be found.
Mr Bray has pleaded not guilty to arson as to being reckless as to whether life was endangered at other properties and has also pleaded not guilty to assisting an offender.
The trial continues.