Accused: ‘It felt like a ghost left’

Oxford Mail: Stewart Dale Stewart Dale

AN odd job man told a jury yesterday he felt like “a ghost had left his head” after he battered a grandmother to death.

Stewart Dale said he only “came back to reality” after Jennifer Hume was dead and he had not intended to kill the 55-year-old or planned to do it.

Dale is on trial at Guildford Crown Court this week, accused of murdering Ms Hume at his static caravan in Prospect Path, Horspath, in May.

“When it finished it was like a ghost left my head,” he said from the witness box yesterday.

“It was as if it wasn’t me and I was coming back to reality.”

Dale, 28, had met the grandmother in a pub in Oxford city centre on a night out on May 17 before taking her back to his mobile home.

There, he launched a frenzied attack after Ms Hume had squeezed his testicles so hard he feared she might pull them off.

“What happened shocked the hell out of me,” he said.

Dale said later that he thought she was attempting to kill him by pulling his genitals off.

After she stopped, he briefly left the room before returning, the jury heard.

Nicholas Rhodes, defending, asked: “Was she still a threat to you?”

The defendant replied: “I don’t know. I just started punching her repeatedly.”

Dale then struck Ms Hume with a light fitting before getting a wooden rounders bat to beat her with.

The force of the ferocious blows caused serious injuries to her skull, the jury was told.

Mr Rhodes asked: “Can you remember doing it?”

“In my mind it is like a dream,” replied the defendant.

“I don’t know what I was thinking.”

When police arrived at his caravan home, Dale told them that Ms Hume “deserved it”.

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Mr Rhodes asked him: “Was that your view?”

“No, of course it wasn’t,” said Dale. “I was just tired, angry, confused and drunk.”

Ann Evans, prosecuting, quizzed Dale in cross-examination over whether he feared ridicule because he had been unable to perform in the bedroom.

“It has happened before on a lot of occasions,” he said.

“It’s happened before and it didn’t really bother me.”

Mrs Evans said: “I suggest to you that nobody had ever belittled you in that way before, made you look stupid?”

“She didn’t make me look stupid,” responded Dale.

Mrs Evans also suggested that the defendant had tried to cut off Ms Hume’s hand in revenge for squeezing his genitals.

“No, this is the first time I have heard anything like that,” he said.

The case continues.

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