Murder accused attacked student

A MAN accused of murdering his fiancée by driving over her head on a Suffolk road was involved in an incident in which a student was kidnapped and attacked a court has heard.

A MAN accused of murdering his fiancée by driving over her head on a Suffolk road was involved in an incident in which a student was kidnapped and attacked a court has heard.

Christopher Caunter allegedly “rammed” a fire extinguisher down on Ian Osakwe's hand and also placed a saucepan under his ankle and jumped on it in the attack which took place eight years ago.

Mr Osakwe told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that he was held captive for two days by five men including Caunter in April 2000 after he stole around £20,000 while working for one of the men.

The court heard he was taken to a house in the London area and questioned about the missing money. He described being punched and kicked but over the course of the next two days the violence escalated and included him being hit around the head and left knee with a hammer and being burnt on his left hand and left leg with a knife that had been heated on a gas stove.

Mr Osakwe, giving evidence for the prosecution, said that he was afraid he would be killed by the men: “I feared for my life, I thought I would die.”

He alleged at one point a string cord was placed round his neck and used to try to strangle him as well as being used to drag him across a room with it while sitting on a chair with wheels.

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The court heard the ordeal came to an end when police arrived at the address where he was being held and he was taken to hospital.

Caunter, 36, of Hullbridge, Essex, has denied murdering his girlfriend Deborah Townsend in July 2005. Also before the court are his brother Robert Caunter, 39, of Barking, and Joseph Brown, 39, of Romford, who have denied helping him after Ms Townsend's death.

It has been alleged that Christopher Caunter drove over Ms Townsend's head on the A134 at Beccles during an argument and later left her body in the back of his Land Rover Discovery at Newland Hall at Roxwell near Chelmsford.

Caunter had then fled to Thailand where he remained until he was extradited back to the UK in 2007.

The trial continues today.