Murder accused 'wore Halloween-style mask and battered partner before hiding her body'

Susan Waring went missing in January 2019. (PA/Lancashire Constabulary)
Susan Waring went missing in January 2019. (PA/Lancashire Constabulary)

A “violent bully” accused of murdering his partner and disposing of her still-missing body attacked her while wearing a bloodied Halloween-style mask, a court has heard.

Alan Edwards, 48, was in a “turbulent and violent” relationship with Susan Waring, who disappeared in January 2019 and is thought to have died.

Jurors were told on Thursday that four women have spoken out against him, with one claiming he held a gun to her head and another saying he kicked her in the abdomen while she was pregnant.

Edwards denies murdering Waring and offences against four other women including causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and making threats to kill.

He claims he last saw Waring, 45, when she kissed him goodbye and left his flat in Darwen, Lancashire, at the end of January 2019, Preston Crown Court has heard.

Read more: Europe-wide search for man launched after woman’s body discovered in suitcase

Susan Waring's body has not been found. (PA/Lancashire Police)
Susan Waring's body has not been found. (PA/Lancashire Police)

The defendant told police he never attacked her and is not responsible for her death.

However, prosecutor Christoper Tehrani QC said: “Alan Edwards would wish you to believe that at the end of January 2019, Susan Waring walked out of his home and simply disappeared.

“The prosecution say Susan Waring is dead because Alan Edwards killed her and disposed of her body somewhere or in such a manner to ensure that it may never be found.”

He said there is no evidence Waring, who was reported missing by her mother, is still alive and her body has never been found.

A search of Edwards’ home above a takeaway found blood on various items, some of which carried DNA matching Waring’s.

This included a Halloween-style mask which was covered with more than 100 blood spots and Waring’s DNA traces.

“The prosecution say that at some point in time Alan Edwards had this mask on. He was in close proximity as he struck her and blood sprayed on to his mask,” Tehrani said.

He characterised their relationship as “turbulent and violent” from its outset in late 2018, and said four other women “will tell you that Alan Edwards was a bully and physically violent to them”.

The last time Waring, who had some learning difficulties, was seen in public was when she went shopping with Edwards on 29 January in Darwen. Her bank card was used to buy a stuffed meerkat toy.

The court heard Edwards used Facebook to appeal for Waring to return or get in touch but mobile phone analysis revealed he had regularly visited dating sites and Plenty of Fish from 5 February.

The trial continues.