A husband accused of killing his wife with a saucepan began to cry out in the dock after he was handed a photo of their wedding day on the second day of his trial.
Steven Grainger, 32, was visibly upset in court today as jurors were shown a picture of him with his 30-year-old wife Simone when they got married.
Grainger, who was also said to have a ‘drug issue’ and ‘financial problems’ allegedly battered the mother-of-two over the head with the pan before strangling her.
The court heard how the childhood sweethearts, who lived in Calcot, near Reading, Berkshire, argued frequently and she told friends how her life was mirroring the plot of Doctor Foster, the hit BBC One drama about a GP’s turbulent relationship with her husband.
Reading Crown Court was told the couple had sex hours before the alleged attack on November 4 last year after friends left the house and their children went to bed.
The court today heard from key witnesses including the partner of Karima Dernawi, Simone’s cousin, who first found her body.
Mr Robert Jowett, who was also a close friend of the couple, described him as a ‘one man kitchen party’ in reference to the defendant taking drugs on his own at home.
Asked if he thought 32-year-old Grainger was a bit of the ‘Jack the Lad’, Mr Jowett replied: ‘Yes, yes I would.’
He added: ‘I noticed a change when they moved in together. Steven had always had a bit of freedom at his mum’s house but when they moved in together, he didn’t have anywhere to hide.
‘There was a lot of pressure on him financially and the house needed a lot of work done to it.
‘He went out a lot at the weekends and wouldn’t return, Simone would not know his whereabouts. He drank heavily and would usually have cocaine on him.’
Mr Jowett confirmed to the jury that Grainger would often go around their home for Sunday lunch with the children, after not sleeping all of Saturday night and would be ‘bang on it.’
Mr Jowett, when questioned whether he thought cocaine was ever a problem for Grainger, said: ‘He admitted that he was mad on the gear and that he needed to rein it in. He had said that to me on many occasions.
‘I think Simone turned a blind eye to it, or just did not know how bad the problem was.’
His partner Ms Dernawi told the jury she could not get in contact with her the day she discovered her body.
She said she had begun to worry as they always spoke on a regular basis. She went around to their home for which she had a key.
Steven Grainger was visibly upset in court today as jurors were shown a picture of him with his wife Simone on their wedding day
She told how she let herself into Simone’s rented home after noticing all the blinds were shut. She then saw her cousin’s foot poking out of the end of a bundle of blankets.
‘Her [Simone] phone kept going to voicemail, which was unusual as she would always have her phone on,’ she said.
‘I then phoned Steven’s phone but that was turned off too. So I called around to the house at about 3pm.
‘I noticed the car wasn’t there and that the blinds were shut too. I let myself in with my keys and looked around the ground floor.’
Ms Dernawi was then led through the rest of her evidence by prosecution barrister, Francis FitzGibbon QC.
She confirmed that she immediately recognised the foot sticking out of the blankets and that she ran straight back out the front door and screamed out in the street.
‘I knew she was dead. I then called 999,’ she told the jury.
The jury was told by Mr FitzGibbon QC that Grainger had hit his wife over the head with a saucepan, where splashes of blood had been found by forensic experts, before strangling her and wrapping her in blankets and leaving her in the conservatory of the home they shared.
Text messages sent by Grainger, a technician, were read to the court detailing how he attempted to buy drugs and talk to prostitutes just after his wife’s death.
He told police Simone had threatened him with a pair of scissors and he acted in self defence.
The court also heard that the couple, despite having constant arguments which saw Mrs Grainger kicking her husband out of their recently bought house, were still intimate.
Mr FitzGibbon said: ‘Simone told her two friends on the night that her and Mr Grainger had sex the night before.
‘She said it was a bit like something from an episode of Doctor Foster. Despite Mrs Grainger’s anger and frustration they maintained a degree of intimacy.’
The killer sent a message to his wife on the morning of November 3 which said: ‘I think if we argue again we will sort it out in the bedroom like last night. xxxx’
Mrs Grainger had been angry at her husband as he had disappeared on the morning of a family trip to Center Parcs the previous month, October, and had ruined one of their children’s birthdays.
According to the prosecution, Grainger would disappear on cocaine and alcohol fuelled binges and would stay up late into the night taking cocaine on his own in the family house.
The couple had been together since their teenage years, but only moved into together on July of 2017, just four months before Simone was killed.
Grainger of Southcote, Berkshire, denies murder and manslaughter.
The trial, which is expected to last four weeks, continues.
Stay updated with the latest Nigerian news from Information Nigeria