Husband 'ordered wife to swallow wedding ring before killing her'

3 December 2019, 18:02 | Updated: 3 December 2019, 19:15

A "jealous" husband ordered his estranged wife to swallow her wedding ring before beating her to death, a court has heard.

Lucy-Anne Rushton, 30, was killed in the early hours of 23 June at her home in Andover, Hampshire, while there were children present.

Her husband, 28-year-old Shaun Dyson, is on trial for murder at Winchester Crown Court.

The jury heard the pair had a "toxic" relationship and Ms Rushton had become the victim of a "history of domestic violence".

Simon Jones, prosecuting, said Ms Rushton had been subjected to a "prolonged and very severe beating" on the night she was killed, "culminating in repeated stamping or jumping or both on her chest and while she was laid on her back."

He said: "There was no justification for blow after blow, kick after kick, stamp after stamp on Lucy. This was borne out of a jealous rage in a violent man."

A post-mortem found Ms Rushton had sustained 37 broken ribs, collapsed lungs and a broken breastbone in the attack.

The court heard Dyson had also hit Ms Rushton on the night before she died and had flown into a rage when she received a phone call from a former partner.

In the early hours of the morning, a child who was in the house said they heard Dyson saying "Swallow the ring because we are not together any more", Mr Jones said.

The child witness said Ms Rushton had put the ring in her mouth but had not swallowed it.

It was later found on the stairs.

Later in the night, the child woke up to see Dyson in a "mean mood" and hitting Ms Rushton, who had a "sad voice".

The court heard Ms Rushton had told family members in the months leading up to her death that she was worried Dyson would kill her.

The victim's mother had seen her being attacked by Dyson over Facetime and had also witnessed a number of other incidents, according to the prosecutor.

CCTV footage was also shown of the defendant striking and spitting at Ms Rushton in a hotel corridor in 2018.

In February, Ms Rushton raised concerns about her husband, who "had a bag ready with a change of clothes and weapons".

"She was convinced that he was going to do something to her and if he couldn't have her, no one could," Mr Jones said.

He continued: "It's not disputed the defendant killed Lucy. We say what happened that night was not a momentary loss of control but the culmination of previous episodes of violence that had preceded that night."

Dyson, from Andover in Hampshire, denies murder.

The trial continues.