15 November 2022

Murder accused ‘strung victim along’, court hears

15 November 2022

A man accused of murder “strung his victim along” by telling her he would leave his partner to be with her, a court has heard.

Mark Brown, 41 of Squirrel Close, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, is charged with murdering Leah Ware, 33, and Alexandra Morgan, 34, six months apart in 2021.

On Tuesday at Hove Crown Court Brown continued to give evidence in his defence while being questioned by prosecuting counsel Duncan Atkinson KC.

Mr Atkinson asked Brown about his “rollercoaster” relationship with Ms Ware, whom he first met as an escort, and paid for sex, in 2018, before the relationship deepened.

Brown said he had regularly told Ms Ware that he would not leave his long-term partner Lisa Clark for her until his oldest child turned 16 – however this changed when Ms Ware became pregnant with his child.

Ms Ware had a termination in February 2020, and then again in November 2020.

When asked by Mr Atkinson if he was “stringing Ms Ware along”, Brown said: “Yes, it caused arguments and me blowing up at her.

“I was hurting Leah emotionally and we were fighting all the time, a lot about the fact I wouldn’t leave Lisa but also a lot to do with the fact she was back on the gear.

“I only told Leah I would leave Lisa when Leah was pregnant. I never planned on leaving Lisa until my oldest child was 16 and Leah knew that.

“It changed slightly when Leah was pregnant, then I told her I was going to leave.

“Lisa found out about Leah at the end of 2020 – that was causing a lot of friction so I was going to move out.”

When asked whether he “hurt” or “fought” Ms Ware, Brown said: “No.”

Mr Atkinson then asked if “that is what happened in May”, referring to the date the prosecution believe he killed Ms Ware, on or around May 8 2021.

Brown replied: “Behave, no.”

Brown denies both charges of murder.

The trial continues.

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