'Jealous and violent' husband tried to make wife swallow wedding ring before beating her to death, court hears

Relationship was ‘toxic and violent’, court told

Matt Drake
Tuesday 03 December 2019 17:53
The court heard that a child witnessed the defendant trying to make his wife swallow ring
The court heard that a child witnessed the defendant trying to make his wife swallow ring

A “jealous and violent” husband tried to make his estranged wife eat her wedding ring before beating her to death in a “brutal” attack witnessed by children, a court has heard.

Shaun Dyson, 28, is accused of murdering Lucy-Anne Rushton, 30, in the early hours of 23 June by repeatedly jumping or stamping on her at their home in Andover, Hampshire.

Simon Jones, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court that the pair had married in 2010 having eloped to Gretna Green, but Ms Rushton became the victim of a “history of domestic violence”.

Mr Jones said: “The defendant’s and Lucy’s relationship is probably best described as toxic.

“Lucy was killed by the defendant; she was the victim of a prolonged and very severe beating, culminating in repeated stamping or jumping or both on her chest and while she was laid on her back.

“There was no justification for blow after blow, kick after kick, stamp after stamp on Lucy. This was borne out of a jealous rage in a violent man.”

Mr Jones said that Dyson, who had already hit Ms Rushton on the evening before she died, had become “enraged” by a phone call she received from a man she had been in a relationship with.

He said that a child witness had seen the defendant say to Ms Rushton in the early hours: “Swallow the ring because we are not together any more.”

He added that the witness said Ms Rushton had put the ring in her mouth but had not swallowed it because they had seen it on the stairs later, where it was found.

Mr Jones said the child witness had woken up again to see Mr Dyson hitting Ms Rushton and she had a “sad voice” while the defendant was in a “mean mood”.

Mr Jones said Ms Rushton had told members of her family in the months before she died that she feared Mr Dyson would murder her.

The prosecutor added: “She was convinced that he was going to do something to her and if he couldn’t have her, no-one could.”

Mr Jones said that, in February, Ms Rushton had also raised concerns about the defendant and that he “had a bag ready with a change of clothes and weapons”.

He said Ms Rushton’s mother had also witnessed attacks by Mr Dyson, including over Facetime.

Mr Jones continued: “The fact that Lucy had concerns for her life shortly before she was killed is a significant indication of the state of the relationship and the concern Lucy had of the defendant, who could turn to violence on the most extreme scale with the most extreme consequences.”

He added: “It’s not disputed the defendant killed Lucy. We say what happened that night was not a momentary loss of control but the culmination of previous episodes of violence that had preceded that night.”

The jury was shown CCTV footage of the defendant striking and spitting at Ms Rushton in a hotel corridor in Bournemouth in September 2018.

Mr Dyson, of Andover, Hampshire, denies murder. The trial continues.

Additional reporting by agencies

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