Nuneaton News Ac­cused: I was brain­washed

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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