Ipswich/Gran Canaria: Murder accused Christopher Chittock had scratches on his face the day after girlfriend Sarah Shields was found dead
PUBLISHED: 14:27 20 February 2013 | UPDATED: 14:27 20 February 2013
ALLEGED beach killer Christopher Chittock was spotted with scratches on his face after his girlfriend’s body was pulled naked out of the sea, a court in Gran Canaria has heard.
Ex-boyfriend fights back tears giving evidence
SARAH’S ex-boyfriend William Newham told the jury of four men and five women trying Chittock at Las Palmas Provincial Court he had exchanged intimate text messages with Sarah after they split in 2007.
She sent him one message from Gran Canaria telling him she was sunbathing topless, to which he replied: “I wouldn’t mind seeing you.”
The court was told another she sent while she was still alive read: “It would be good if you were here. It’s not the same with Chris.”
Mr Newham said a message he received from Sarah’s phone the day after she was found dead when Chittock was allegedly sending her friends and family fake texts, read: “Leave me alone, I’m happy now, I’ve moved on.”
Fighting back tears, he told the court: “I thought the way the text message was worded was odd.
“The grammar and spelling didn’t seem like the normal message Sarah would send.
“I subsequently took a call from Sarah’s brother Paul asking me if I had seen her because she hadn’t returned home from her holiday.
“I found out she had died when I spoke to a British police officer.”
A British holidaymaker sharing their Gran Canaria apartment complex said he saw “fight” marks on the engineer’s chin and eye 24 hours after he had spotted a woman’s body floating in the water from his room.
Nicholas Atkinson told Chittock’s murder trial he saw the engineer eating alone without girlfriend of eight-months Sarah Shields, the day after the gruesome July 7 2010 discovery.
He said: “I was sat about a metre away from him in the restaurant at the apartments and clearly saw nail scratches on the left side of his face by his chin and another mark on his eye.
“It looked to me as if he had been a fight. It was the day after the body that turned out to be Sarah’s was found.
“I’d seen the body floating in the sea near our apartment the previous morning after being woken up by my girlfriend.
“It was moving from right to left in the water. At first I thought I saw the legs moving but then realized it was just the waves.”
Divorced dad-of-one Chittock, 38, is accused of beating and strangling work colleague Sarah, 23, on July 6 2010 during their first sunshine holiday together after discovering she had been exchanging texts with an ex-boyfriend.
He allegedly burnt her belongings on a bonfire near their apartment except a mobile phone. State prosecutors allege that he texted Sarah’s friends and family pretending to be her in a desperate bid to cover up his crime.
He was arrested three days after returning alone to their Alnesbourn Crescent home in Ravenswood, at the end of their two-week holiday in the popular tourist resort of Mogan.
Chittock denies murder and claims he last saw Sarah when she left him for a mystery man called Jason she met on holiday the week before she was found dead.
The jury was shown pictures of blood later identified as Sarah’s on large stones Chittock allegedly smashed her head on after breaking her nose with a flurry of punches.
Traces of blood containing Sarah’s and Chittock’s DNA were found on a mattress in their room during a police search.
A local CID chief, who was not named in court, said the defendant was arrested in Britain after they had identified Sarah’s body using a DNA sample sent to them by her mum Angela.
He said: “The British police told us there was an important traffic of messages from Sarah’s phone to friends and relatives’ phones after she died.
“They told us they’d established from tests that a number of those messages had been sent from the defendant and Sarah’s home.”
Chittock, who is facing up to 25 years in jail if convicted, denies Sarah’s murder.
The trial continues.