Woman 'bit fiance's neck like an apple'

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Tracie Andrews, the woman accused of the roadside murder of her fiance, Lee Harvey, bit into his neck "like an apple" before punching him twice in the face in a nightclub row, a court was told yesterday.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that less than two months before the unemployed bus driver was stabbed to death on 1 December last year, his fiancee, who is accused of the killing, had assaulted him in front of nightclub staff and his friends.

She has claimed that he died as a result of a road rage incident.

On the second day of the trial, witnesses told the court that the couple had a stormy relationship during which police were repeatedly called to domestic disputes.

In the nightclub incident, which took place at Bakers in Birmingham city centre, the couple, who lived together at The Becks, Alvechurch, in Wor- cestershire, were seen shouting and arguing near the dancefloor.

Barmaid Victoria Silcock told how Lee Harvey had not retaliated against Mr Andrews' attack despite suffering a neck wound which required treatment by staff.

She told the jury of nine women and three men that Mr Harvey had suffered a bite mark on the left side of his neck and scratches to his cheek. "The bite was like a cut, in the shape of how you would bite into an apple. The scratches had been made by fingernails."

Miss Silcock had taken the injured man to the staff kitchen and cleaned up the wound before she again spotted the couple at her bar. She said: "Tracie punched him on the cheek twice. He didn't retaliate. She was shouting at him. She was angry that he was in 'her club', as she said. It wasn't very hard but enough to make Lee flinch. She was shouting 'Who are you with?' "

Miss Silcock said that as Ms Andrews stood with her hands clenched in fists by her side, she ordered her fiance to buy her a drink and, despite the attack, he went to the bar and ordered her a double Malibu and pineapple.

Mr Harvey's friend, Steven Girling, who said he was also present added: "I saw Tracie Andrews bite him on the neck. He didn't retaliate."

The prosecution claims that on the day of the murder the pair's volatile relationship had again erupted and that as they drove the five miles home from the pub, Ms Andrews launched a ferocious attack on Mr Harvey armed with a pen-knife.

The court heard that he had suffered more than 30 stab wounds and would have been rendered defenceless almost immediately after she severed both main arteries in his neck.

Neighbours spoke of frequently hearing the couple shouting obscenities at each other during arguments at their home. During one such row police were called to the scene by the defendant demanding that Mr Harvey leave her flat.

Ms Andrews, 28, denies murder, claiming that her boyfriend of two- and-a-half years was the victim of a road-rage attack after they were chased through country lanes near their home by a mystery vehicle.

The trial was adjourned until today.