Chef accused of murdering ex ‘drunkenly confessed to arranging killing seven years later’

Claire Holland went missing while on a night out in Bristol in 2012 and Darren Osment is on trial for her murder

Alex Ross
Monday 16 October 2023 18:31 BST
Claire Holland went missing while on a night out in 2012
Claire Holland went missing while on a night out in 2012 (Avon and Somerset Police)

A chef said he paid someone to have his ex-partner killed in a confession to police - seven years after she vanished on a night out, a jury heard.

Alcoholic Darren Osment is accused of murdering Claire Holland, who disappeared in Bristol in 2012 and whose body has never been found.

A jury at Bristol Crown Court on Monday heard how the 41-year-old was due to see Ms Holland after finishing a shift at a pub on the night she went missing - but he told police in the days after that they hadn’t met, and he had gone home alone.

However, Mr Andrew Langdon KC, prosecuting, told the jury how Osment had made a number of drunken confessions, including to police, in the years that followed Ms Holland’s disappearance.

The conversations revealed how Osment blamed Ms Holland for their child being taken into care before they split up in 2010, said Mr Langdon.

In 2014, Osment told a roommate he had strangled Ms Holland before throwing her body into Avonmouth Docks, nine miles from the city, said Mr Langdon. Then, in 2018, he told another man in a pub that he had paid someone £500 to have her “executed”, the jury heard.

In 2019, Osment made a 999 call on a night out in Devon in which he said: “I’m handing myself in”. When the operator asked “you murdered your ex?”, Osment replied: “Sort of, I know what happened to her.”

When police arrived to find him, he continued his confession, said Mr Langdon, who read a transcript of Osment saying: “I gave some money to someone and they had her killed.”

A court artist sketch of Darren Osment, 41, at Bristol Crown Court where he is accused of killing his ex-partner (PA Wire)

Later, in a police interview, Osment said he could not remember the 999 call or his discussion with police officers, said Mr Langdon, who told the jury: “You will at the end of the case ask yourself are all these confessions false confessions, is that the explanation for the difference? Or will you conclude that in each, Darren Osment was trying to take responsibility for the fact he did indeed kill Claire?

“Is he for some reason trying to claim responsibility for something he did not do to make himself look big? Or was he, through the various drunken confessions he made, trying to relieve himself of the burden that he carried?

“If that is so, then it appears, the prosecution say, he lacks the courage to describe what he actually did, the memory of it, it’s so horrid, so ghastly that when it comes to it he can’t bring himself to spell it out.”

The court heard the defendant and Ms Holland met in 2008 when they worked together in a cafe and began a relationship, with their only child being born in 2010. The child was taken into foster care after police were called to the home they shared in Bradley Stoke following allegations of alcohol-fuelled domestic violence.

The couple later separated - but were due to meet, said Mr Langdon, to talk about their son after he had been moved to Torquay to live with Ms Holland’s aunt.

The defendant, of Chessel Drive, Patchway, South Gloucestershire, has pleaded not guilty to murder on a date between June 5 and June 8 2012.

The trial continues.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in