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East Anglia: Former Suffolk man accused of trying to kill prostitute spoke of ‘terrible secret’

18:14 30 May 2014

Norwich Crown Court.

Norwich Crown Court.

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A former Suffolk man accused of raping and trying to kill a woman 18 years ago told family he had a “terrible secret”, a court has heard.

Prosecutors have told Norwich Crown Court that Peter Carroll, now 55, choked a woman almost to death after picking her up while she was working as a prostitute in Norwich on July 20, 1996.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was left for dead but survived the brutal attack, prosecutor John Farmer said.

But in her effort to fight off her alleged attacker, a “small amount” of Carroll’s skin became lodged under her fingernail and this scrap of DNA eventually led to his arrest.

Describing a Christmas celebration in 2002, Carroll’s nephew, Jason Lack, said his uncle suddenly became aggressive.

He said: “He started saying I can’t live with myself, I’ve done something terrible.

“I thought he said it happened in Norfolk. He mentioned that he’d killed somebody, he’d hidden the body and he couldn’t live with it.”

Describing Carroll as “drunk but not paralytic”, Mr Lack added: “It seems odd now that nobody questioned him any further but nobody did. We just looked at him and told him to shut up.

“He said a lot of stuff when he had a drink, there were a lot of stories and grandiose claims.”

Mr Lack said he began to take the story more seriously in 2009 when Carroll repeated the claim.

“On another occasion he said I’ve done something terrible, that’s what makes me the way I am,” he added.

“He said he’d killed somebody. He said he just couldn’t live with it.

“The second time around I was more concerned it was true.

“As a young man I didn’t make the phone call to the police out of misplaced loyalties, not having enough details, not wanting to look stupid in front of the police.”

Carroll, who had previously lived in Beccles, where he worked as a Hotpoint engineer, was arrested and cautioned for an unrelated assault and a DNA sample was taken.

Last year police re-examining the evidence linked him to the 1996 offence.

Carroll, of Barnsbury Avenue, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, denies attempted murder, attempted actual bodily harm with intent and rape.

The court heard that he accepts he was responsible for the incident but claims he acted in self defence after the woman attacked him.

Mr Farmer added that Carroll had initially acted normally with the woman after arranging to pay her £30 for sex.

But after they drove to a remote spot he suddenly became “extremely violent”.

He added that Carroll had a “deviant sexual obsession” with the idea of having sex with a dead or unconscious woman.

Mr Farmer told jurors: “You will hear that he went on having sex with her into unconsciousness.”

The prosecutor added that Carroll had been married three times and would speak openly about his use of prostitutes.

The case continues.

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