Asylum seeker 'fled hospital after killing lover'

An asylum seeker arrested for killing his older lover fled a hospital during a fire drill before being found in Spain 14 years later, a court heard today.

Miguel da Silva strangled Susan Martin, 44, in west London the day before she planned to leave him and return home to Manchester, jurors were told.



Da Silva, an Angolan, throttled her with a beige piece of T-shirt material in a "deliberate and sustained" attack in September 1994, the Old Bailey heard.



Ms Martin had told friends she feared her 24-year-old boyfriend would "do his nut" when he found out she was to leave him, said Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting.



"The defendant was extremely possessive and controlling of Miss Martin," Mr Atkinson told the jury.



"He became extremely angry at any suggestion that she wanted to end their relationship. In the course of that violence, on a previous occasion, he had tried to strangle her.



"At the very time she died, Susan Martin was trying to escape from that relationship, an escape the defendant was equally determined to prevent."



After killing her in her room in Notting Hill, Da Silva handed himself in to Paddington Green police station, the court heard.



He told officers he had been in a fight with his girlfriend and her body was discovered face down with a cloth tied tight around her neck.



A post-mortem examination found pressure had been applied for at least a minute in a "deliberate and sustained" act, said Mr Atkinson.



The court heard Da Silva was arrested and charged with the murder and remanded in secure accommodation at Ealing Hospital, west London, and an assessment of his mental health was being carried out.



Mr Atkinson said: "During a fire drill he escaped from the hospital and thereafter from the country. He remained untraced until 2009 when he was arrested in Spain under a European arrest warrant.



"The consequence of the defendant literally going over the wall at the hospital back in 1995 is that the assessment of his mental health was far from complete at the time."



Mr Atkinson told jurors there was no dispute that Da Silva killed Ms Martin but the issue they would have to decide on was his mental health at the time.



He said they would want to consider whether, if he was suffering from a mental illness, it was the cause of or the result of his actions and the time he had spent in prison.



Da Silva, now aged 40, denies murder.



Tapes and transcripts of his original police interviews have gone missing since the time he was first arrested. He was brought back to Britain in March this year.



The court heard Ms Martin, who had a daughter in her 20s, had moved to London from Manchester after separating from her husband.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living