Former deacon denies murdering girlfriend


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The Independent Online

A former deacon murdered his girlfriend in a "savage and sustained" knife attack in front of her two young children, a court heard today.

Ezekial Foster, 43, repeatedly stabbed Sashana Roberts, 24, at her home in Cricklewood, north London, in September last year when she tried to end their abusive relationship, the Old Bailey heard.

Her three-year-old son and 11-month-old daughter were in the house at the time, and the little girl was left with her mother's blood on her leggings and hand.

Foster had been violent to Miss Roberts during their five years as a couple and was "controlling and aggressive", prosecutor Duncan Atkinson said.

Mr Atkinson told the jury: "The killing appears to have been in response to the attempts by Sashana Roberts to end her abusive relationship with the defendant, because the incident took place not long after Sashana Roberts had begun a relationship with another man.

"The defendant was angry and clearly could not cope with the end of the relationship with Miss Roberts."

A week before she died, Foster found Miss Roberts' new boyfriend at her house and in the following days threatened to kill her, it is claimed.

He has admitted manslaughter but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The jury heard that Foster attacked Miss Roberts with a kitchen knife, inflicting stab wounds all over her body and then leaving her in the bath.

After the attack he told his daughter Shana Foster that he had killed his girlfriend.

Mr Atkinson said: "He also said that he had killed her because of the way she was treating him, saying that he could not take it any more."

Foster changed his phone in the wake of the killing, left his bloodstained trainers at his daughter's house and went to stay at a flat in Lewisham, south-east London, the court heard.

Mr Atkinson said: "Sashana Roberts was trying to escape the possessive servitude of the relationship she had with him, against the background of the defendant being aggressively controlling of Miss Roberts.

"When she made a voluntary choice to escape his abusive control for good, in that situation he reacted violently as he had reacted in the past and as he had threatened to do on many occasions."

Foster, of Twybridge Way, Brent, north London, was previously a deacon at a church in the Harlesden area, and more recently had done building work and roofing, the prosecutor said.

He had been violent to women in other relationships, jurors were told. Foster was convicted of ABH for hitting girlfriend Shenika Knight in the face with an iron, and for assault for grabbing his wife Anna Marie Foster and ripping her clothes as he tried to force her to give him a set of car keys, the jury heard.