Samantha Henderson: Mother-of-four 'was killed by partner before her body was dumped in a lake'

The 25-year-old died from 'blunt force' injuries to her head and neck

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The Independent Online

A "diminutive" mother-of-four from Dorset was killed by her partner who wrapped her body in a children's duvet and plastic sheet before dumping it in a lake and weighing it down with stone slabs, a court has heard.

Samantha Henderson, who was only 5ft 2in tall and of slight build, died as a result of "multiple blunt force" injuries to her head and neck, a jury at Winchester Crown Court was told.

Ian Lawrie QC, prosecuting, said that Dominic Isom, 28, admitted causing the death of the 25-year-old but denied her murder.

He said the couple, who had cancelled their wedding just a month previously, had a "fractious" and "jealous" relationship which led to arguments, mostly regarding previous relationships.

He said that Miss Henderson had taken medication for depression in the previous year and added that she had wanted to have a fifth child.

She also wanted to move home to Exeter and had relinquished the tenancy on their home in Halves Cottages, Corfe Castle, the court heard.

Mr Lawrie said that Miss Henderson was last seen on the afternoon of January 21 as she picked up two of her children from school and she was also located at the family home through her mobile phone records.

Mr Lawrie added that an argument was believed to have taken place between Miss Henderson and the defendant which led to the assault that killed her.

He said that blood spots were found in a shed at the back of their home suggesting that the assault took place "away from the view of the children".

Mr Lawrie said: "Mr Isom's stance was that Miss Henderson left at around 4 to 4.30pm on that afternoon, that there had been an argument or exchange, there had been some problems.

"She looks at her phone and just leaves out the back of the house.

"He was clear to everybody he didn't know where she had gone or what had happened to her. He now accepts he is responsible for her death but not her murder."

Mr Lawrie said that Isom would have then "frantically" cleaned up the blood caused by the attack before he drove the "bundle" of her body in the duvet to the lake near Ham Common, in Hamworthy, Poole, where he dumped her body.

He said that Isom stopped on the way to the lake to buy some cannabis from an acquaintance who described him as his "usual happy self".

Miss Henderson was reported missing to the police the following day and her body was found by police search dogs on January 30.

Mr Lawrie said that alongside her body in the duvet bundle were her pink dressing gown and her mobile phone with the battery removed as well as the defendant's clothing and his tartan slippers which Isom said she had been wearing.

He said: "Miss Henderson's body was wrapped in both a plastic sheet and a child's duvet cover. "The duvet and its contents were held together with large straps and weighed down with stone slabs beside other metal items.

"The bundle also contained some of Mr Isom's clothes including his slippers. Once the bundle was completely unwrapped it became clear that considerable efforts had gone into preparing the bundle."

Mr Lawrie said: "What was his intention when he struck her about the head and neck, those multiple injuries can only demonstrate that Mr Isom had set about repeatedly striking the head and neck of Miss Henderson that you can safely conclude that he intended to cause her serious bodily harm.

"For the nature of those injuries there can be no lawful excuse."

Mr Lawrie said: "At the heart of whatever happened between Miss Henderson and Mr Isom on the 21st January may be the fractious dynamics of their not always easy relationship."

He added: "For all the good aspects there were also darker aspects to the relationship and which were hallmarked by much arguing.

"Both were jealous and controlling of each other, there was absence of trust, for example they had a joint Facebook page as neither wanted the other to have their own account.

"Both wanted to know where each other were and whom they were seeing."

Isom denies a charge of murder.

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