Lab assistant “murdered” girlfriend with carving knife and then dumped her body

A lab assistant strangled a colleague to death then dumped her body in a country lane just a month after they started dating, a court heard.

Ross McCullum throttled HR adviser Megan Newborough, 23, after inviting her to his parents’ home while they were away, it is claimed.

He then repeatedly cut her throat with a carving knife “to make sure she was dead” before bundling her into her own car, jurors were told. McCullum, who worked with Megan at a building firm, then allegedly drove to a remote location and dumped her body in dense undergrowth.

Leicester crown court heard her concerned parents reported her missing the next day when she failed to return home.

Detectives initially arrested McCullum, 30, from Coalville, Leics, on suspicion of kidnap before he confessed when her body was. He denies murdering the popular university graduate, from Nuneaton, Warks, but has admitted her manslaughter.

The trial heard the pair began a relationship just weeks before the killing after meeting at Leicestershire firm Ibstock Brick. In messages recovered by police McCullum demanded Megan address him as “Lord Commmander”, the court heard.

Prosecutor John Cammegh KC said she was a “genuinely well-liked, gregarious but responsible young woman”. He told jurors that “things developed at work” between the pair at work and on two occasions they were caught kissing.

“To put it bluntly, the relationship was founded more on physical attraction than any real emotional connection,” he said.

McCullum had not had a girlfriend for years after a previous relationship was “hampered by difficulties with erectile dysfunction”, jurors heard.

In August last year he invited Megan to his parents’ home for the first time while they were out. Mr Cammegh said he attacked her with “great violence” within half an hour of her arrival.

The court heard he made a series of bogus calls and texts to Megan’s mobile phone, which he dumped in bushes following her death.

But jurors were told he made a “crucial mistake” and failed to turn the device off. Her worried family used an app to track it to countryside just a mile from McCullum’s home while desperately searching for her.

It was eventually retrieved by police – who subsequently arrested McCullum on suspicion of kidnap.

In interviews he admitted Megan was dead and told detectives where they could find her body, the court heard. Megan’s remains were eventually discovered in thick undergrowth near the village of Woodhouse Eaves in Leicestershire.

Mr Cammegh described McCullum as a “cunning and resourceful” murderer.

He said: “He embarked upon a series of deliberate actions carefully calculated and executed to cover up Megan’s murder and his role in it.”

McCullum told police he accidentally killed Megan after becoming “agitated” when she tried to touch him intimately. He has admitted manslaughter but denies murder. The trial continues.