A friend of a French film producer who was found buried in a shallow grave in her garden became suspicious after she received “strange” messages from her phone, a court has heard.
Kirill Belorusov, 32, is accused of killing Laureline Garcia-Bertaux at her London home and then sending texts from her mobile to cover his tracks.
Beth Penman told the Old Bailey she became “confused” by the messages about a shopping spree and a “fit” vet.
Mr Belorusov denies murder.
On 5 March, the 34-year-old was found naked, bound, wrapped in bin bags and buried in a flower bed in the back garden of her flat in Kew.
The jury was told Ms Penman became concerned after receiving “confusing” messages from her close friend’s phone days before she was found.
One described Ms Garcia-Bertaux going on a shopping spree in Oxford Street, which Ms Penman said was “completely” surprising because her friend preferred shopping online.
Further texts mentioned how she wanted to be “young and hot again”, while another on 3 March spoke about meeting a “fit” vet.
When asked by prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC whether it was “the kind of thing Laureline might do?”, Ms Penman replied: “No. It seemed far-fetched to me.”
She also told Mr Glasgow that she was alarmed by the messages.
Prosecutors have told the court Mr Belorusov owed the victim thousands of pounds, and he had tricked his way into her home where he strangled her.
The jury has also heard the 32-year-old was captured on CCTV buying an axe, rubble sacks and plastic clogs in Homebase, which he used to dispose of her body.
Following the murder, Mr Belorusov fled to Estonia, his home country, but was brought back to Britain to face trial, prosecutors have said.
The trial continues.
A man found dead in north-west London was killed in a drive-by shooting, police said.
The 24-year-old man was found with a gunshot wound in Malden Road, Kentish Town, late on Sunday.
CCTV revealed two people on a moped had pulled up to the victim, pulled out a gun and fired at close range. The man died at the scene.
An eyewitness described how he tried to perform CPR on the man with the help of a 999 operator.
Will, who did not want to give his full name, said: “There were a number of people around him when I got down there, but nobody was doing anything.
“With the aid of the operator on the phone, I performed CPR. But I think he was already dead then.”
Officers said they were keen to trace people who had been in a Toyota Prius, a Ford Focus and a motorbike in the area at the time.
The man’s next of kin have been informed and post-mortem tests are due to be held on Tuesday, police said.
Det Ch Insp Simon Stancombe, from the Met Police, said: “Everything we have found out so far points to this being a drive-by shooting.”
He urged eyewitnesses or anyone with dashcam footage to contact the force.
The killing was the second fatal shooting in less than 12 hours in London.
A man in his 20s was shot dead in Sydenham, south-east London, on Sunday afternoon.
Swindon moved up to fourth in League Two following a well-deserved victory over Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road.
Keshi Anderson put the visitors ahead in the 23rd minute. The 24-year-old was fouled and sent his free-kick into the wall but reacted quickest to pounce on the loose ball and curl into the far corner past Dean Brill.
Richie Wellens’ men continued to maraud forward and their attacking intent paid dividends again two minutes before the break, with Rob Hunt’s audacious side-foot from the corner of the box taking a telling deflection off Orient left-back Joe Widdowson and flying past a surprised Brill.
The game was then over in first-half stoppage time when Lloyd Isgrove provided his sixth assist of the league season.
The former Southampton winger darted through the centre of the pitch before laying off to Jerry Yates, who cut onto his right foot before finishing with aplomb.
Jordan Maguire-Drew curled home brilliantly from 20 yards to give Orient hope with 16 minutes of normal time left but Swindon held on to send their fans home happy.
Report supplied by PA Media
Government minister Nick Hurd has announced that he will stand down at the next election, saying he wanted “a new challenge”.
In a statement, the minister of state for Northern Ireland said his decision was “personal not political”, adding that “much had changed” in his life.
Mr Hurd was first elected as MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner in 2005.
His decision follows Jo Johnson’s announcement that he was resigning as an MP and minister.
In a tweet, Mr Hurd confirmed he was “not resigning” and would continue as minister of state for Northern Ireland, minister for London and minister for Grenfell until the next election.
Speaking about his time in government, the 57-year-old said he had planned to continue “for as long as my constituents continued to elect me” but “much had changed”.
“Politics is now dominated by the ongoing division over Brexit. More happily, my private life has been changed profoundly by the birth of my two youngest children,” he said.
The Conservative MP added that he felt it was the time to “embrace a new challenge”.
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of a woman was found at her east London home.
Police said the body of Sandra Samuels, 45, was found in her flat in Herrick House, Hackney, following a welfare check on 31 August.
A post-mortem examination proved inconclusive, though police are treating the death as suspicious.
A 40-year-old-man, arrested on Tuesday, remains in custody. A second man, 47, has been released under investigation.
Arsenal came from two goals down to claim a point from a full-blooded north London derby with Tottenham at Emirates Stadium.
Christian Eriksen put the visitors ahead early on after Bernd Leno spilled Erik Lamela’s shot at the Danish international’s feet.
Spurs were cruising when Harry Kane doubled their lead from the penalty spot after Granit Xhaka’s woefully misjudged challenge on Son Heung-min, but Alexandre Lacazette got on the end of Nicolas Pepe’s pass to give Arsenal hope in first-half stoppage time.
And Maurcio Pochettino’s side were made to pay for a conservative approach after the break as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned a Matteo Guendouzi cross beyond Hugo Lloris to secure a point for the Gunners.
The hosts thought they may even have found a winner with time running out, but a back-post finish by Sokratis was ruled out because Sead Kolasinac drifted offside in the build-up – though the video assistant referee system (VAR) did check the decision.
In the five added minutes, Spurs saw an appeal for a second penalty turned down as referee Martin Atkinson adjudged Kane to be at fault for a tangle with Sokratis which VAR did not review.
The result lifts Arsenal to fifth in the Premier League with seven points from four games, while Tottenham head into September’s international break four places behind their rivals in ninth on five points.
After the international break, Tottenham resume their Premier League season with a home match against Crystal Palace on Saturday, 14 September (15:00 BST).
A day later, Arsenal travel to Watford in the late Sunday kick-off (16:30 BST).
More to follow.
West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini has signed a new long-term contract with the Premier League club.
The 26-year-old Argentine’s new deal means he will remain at London Stadium until 30 June 2023, with the option of a further two years.
Lanzini initially joined the Hammers on loan from United Arab Emirates club Al Jazira in 2015, before making 100 Premier League appearances.
“I love London, I love the club and I am happy here,” said Lanzini.
“We have a very good team, we have a very good manager and the club wants to change and to be in more competitions in the future.
“It’s a big decision but also easy, because when you feel good in one club and you like the club and the club likes you, it’s easier to decide these things.”
|US Open 2019|
|Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep|
|Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.|
Johanna Konta and Dan Evans – Britain’s remaining players in the US Open singles – face first-time opponents in the second round on Wednesday.
British number one Konta faces Margarita Gasparyan, although the scheduled 16:00 BST start was delayed by rain with no play on the outside courts before 18:00.
British men’s number two Evans plays world number 27 Lucas Pouille.
Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic is up against Juan Ignacio Londero.
Before that five-time champion Roger Federer, who last won the title in 2008, plays Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur in one of the two early matches inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. The other match sees women’s third seed and 2016 finalist Karolina Pliskova take on Georgia’s Mariam Bolkvadze.
Serena Williams, a six-time champion and last year’s runner-up, is last up on the main court where she faces fellow American Catherine McNally.
After her first-round win over Maria Sharapova, Williams, 37, revealed she had been tweaking her game in the build-up to this tournament.
“I’ve been working on a lot of new things,” she said. “I don’t really talk about what I’ve been working on so much. I definitely have been working on a lot of new stuff to incorporate in my game.”
Other highlights on day three include two Louis Armstrong Stadium matches – fifth seed Elina Svitolina against two-time champion Venus Williams, and French Open champion Ashleigh Barty facing world number 73 Lauren Davis.
Police have been given powers to stop and search in the Notting Hill area after almost 100 people were arrested during the carnival.
Officers made 97 arrests for alleged drugs offences, assault and sexual offences at the two-day event which began on Sunday.
The Section 60 order was enforced after recent reports of “incidents of violence” across the city.
It was a decision “not made lightly”, Scotland Yard said.
Notting Hill Carnival Gold Cmdr Dave Musker said the order, which also covers parts of Harrow Road, would be “kept under constant review”.
“It is the police’s job to ensure the security of all those planning to attend this event”, Gold Cmdr Musker added.
“When I believe this no longer forms part of a proportionate policing plan, it will cease.”
- 41 alleged drugs offences
- 12 alleged assaults on police officers
- 10 alleged public order offences
- Nine for possession of an offensive weapon
- Three actual bodily harm and assaults
- Two grievous bodily harm assaults
Sunday also saw revellers being treated for dehydration in what is believed to be the hottest carnival on record.
More than a million people are expected to take to the streets with performers, musicians and dancers.
Sunday morning began with the traditional J’Ouvert, where festival-goers threw vibrant paint over each other.
The Children’s Parade followed with flowered-themes and flamboyant costumes.
The Notting Hill Grand Finale Parade will start on Monday, concluding the weekend’s celebrations.