Nuneaton News Accused: I was brainwashed
A YOUNG woman accused of murdering her “best friend” says she will “have to live” with the fact that she did nothing to help her while she was beaten to death, a court has heard.
Elizabeth Ellis took to the witness box to deny having any involvement in killing 27-year-old Dionne Clark, whose body was found at home in Nuneaton earlier this year.
Ellis, 20, said that her co-defendant Dominic Wallis was responsible for tying up mum-of-four Miss Clark and repeatedly hitting her in the head.
Ellis told a jury at Birmingham Crown Court that she was “too scared” to react and then felt “brainwashed” in to going along with Dominic Wallis’ made-up story about what happened.
Ellis and Dominic Wallis, 28, both deny murder, while his parents – Karen and Kingsley Wallis – have pleaded not guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice.
Ellis told the jury that on Friday, June 16, she, Miss Clark and Dominic had been smoking crack cocaine and drinking most of the day before they were at his house in Cornish Close at around 10.30pm. As they had ran out of crack cocaine, Miss Clark and Dominic started sniffing gas from a canister, and Miss Clark offered to show Ellis how it was done as she had never done it before.
Ellis said something went wrong and she ended up with liquid in her mouth and Dominic shouted at Miss Clark.
Ellis said that Miss Clark wanted to leave but Dominic took the back door key to stop her leaving, which caused Miss Clark to get “incredibly upset and crying really loudly”.
Dominic then pushed her onto the sofa before he “backhanded her across the face”, Ellis said.
Ellis said that Dominic then continued to attack Miss Clark, before she hit him back, causing his nose to bleed.
Dominic then pushed Miss Clark back on to the sofa and squirted ammonia in to her face while laughing.
A tearful Ellis added that Miss Clark mouthed at her for help while Dominic had gone into the kitchen to fetch some parcel tape. The court heard that Dominic then tied up Miss Clark using tape from two different rolls, a TV aerial cable and phone chargers.
The 20-year-old said that once Dominic finished taping up Miss Clark, he pulled her from the sofa and propped her up on the floor with her back against a pouffe in the living room.
Ellis said she had to go upstairs as she “wanted to get away from Dom and I couldn’t sit there looking at Dionne knowing there was nothing I could do to help her”.
Before doing so though, she told the court that she pulled the tape away from Miss Clark’s nose and “kept checking that Miss Clark could breathe”.
Ellis said she took some of Dominic’s tablets upstairs which knocked her out and she fell asleep. She said she was woken the next day by Dominic running upstairs saying that Miss Clark was dead.
When she went downstairs, Ellis said that Miss Clark’s body was still in the same position as it had been when she had gone upstairs to bed, but her leg was purple and “blotchy in places”. Mr Keeling asked: “It was obvious she was dead?” Ellis: “Yes. It was horrible.”
Ellis claimed that she straight away said they needed to contact the emergency services, but Dominic replied “not to be stupid”.
Ellis told the jury that she and Dominic then went to find his parents at Karen Wallis’ shop in Galley Common, and Dominic told them that Miss Clark had died. She said that Dominic threatened not to speak to them again if they rang the emergency services, which Karen Wallis wanted to do.
Mr Keeling asked why at this point, and later in the day, Ellis hadn’t told anyone the truth, Ellis replied: “I felt manipulated by Dom and he had said if I ever tell the truth he would do the same to me and my family.”
Mr Keeling asked why Ellis stuck by the story she says that Dominic made up and lied to police in her first interview.
Ellis answered: “I was traumatised and still felt under Dom’s control and brainwashed by being with him all day.”
After being released on police bail, Ellis said that Karen Wallis was driving her to Hartshill when she asked what had really happened and if Dominic had hurt Miss Clark.
Christopher Millington QC, representing Dominic Wallis, said that when Miss Clark tipped lighter fluid in to Ellis’ mouth, she was “unable to control your temper”. Ellis denied this.
Mr Millington said that Ellis didn’t like having lighter fluid placed in to her mouth and pushed Miss Clark before kneeing her and punching her in the face.
“It was you who was responsible for the violence,” he stated. “No,” replied Ellis. The jury heard that on Saturday, June 17, Ellis and Dominic had walked to Miss Clark’s home in Hartshill, where Ellis had also been living at the time.
Mr Millington said that the only reason they had for going there was to remove Ellis’ bags of clothes from the house.
Ellis said that it was Dominic’s idea to go there as he was “looking for something”.
Mr Millington stated: “This has nothing to do with Dom. This has everything to do with you.”
Dominic’s barrister also suggested that the story told to police about Miss Clark suffering her fatal injuries in a fight in the street was made up by both her and Dominic.
Ellis again denied this.