14 March 2023

‘Controlling’ man murdered partner who was about to leave him, court told

14 March 2023

A “controlling” man murdered his partner who was about to end their relationship, a court has heard.

The body of 30-year-old Madison Wright was found in Wat Tyler Country Park in Pitsea, Essex, on July 30 last year, eight days after she was last seen, Basildon Crown Court was told.

Gary Bennett, 37, of Caister Drive, Pitsea, has denied her murder, and wept in the secure dock as his trial began.

Tracy Ayling KC, opening the prosecution case on Tuesday, told jurors that Ms Wright was last seen on July 22 2022.

“Her body was found on Saturday July 30 at Wat Tyler Country Park in Pitsea at 2.50pm by a team of searching police officers,” Ms Ayling said.

“Her body was covered in a pile of shrubs and branches and a fence panel.

“It’s the prosecution case that this defendant killed Madison Wright.

“They were in a relationship up until the time of her disappearance, although, looking at her text messages, the Crown say she was about to end that relationship, mainly because of his controlling behaviour.”

In a text message from Ms Wright to Bennett, which was read out by the prosecutor, she told him: “I don’t like that when I come in from being out you take my phone out of my pocket and look at it.”

Ms Wright also told Bennett she did not like having to video call Bennett while she was out to prove where she was, or him asking her “three or four times a day have I heard from anyone”.

Bennett wrote in a message to Ms Wright, which was also read out by Ms Ayling: “I think I’m jealous of the fact I might lose you.”

The prosecutor said Ms Wright was “at one time married”.

She added that Ms Wright was still in contact with her husband while she was in a relationship with Bennett.

Ms Wright obtained a new flat in June 2022, Ms Ayling said.

The prosecutor said Bennett owed money to people, and in a text exchange on July 21 2022 a person asked him in a message: “Alright mate, you got that bit of money yet?”

The trial continues.

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