Donia AL watan
A teenager who was found dead with her throat slit months after reporting her ex-boyfriend to police was issued with a fine for wasting police time, a murder trial has heard.
The body of Shana Grice, 19, was discovered in her bedroom in Portslade, East Sussex, following an attack last August. An attempt had been made to start a fire in two separate areas of her flat.
Her former boyfriend, Michael Lane, 27, is standing trial for her murder, which he denies.
Jurors were told that Lane became “obsessed” with the teenager after she got back together with her previous partner, Ashley Cooke.
She told police Lane was stalking her in February 2016, after he allegedly hid outside her house, left unwanted flowers and a note that read “Shona will always cheat on you” on Mr Cooke’s car.
One month later, Ms Grice reported that Lane had assaulted her, but he denied the allegation and provided texts that suggested she wanted to be in a relationship with him.
The court heard that Ms Grice was then charged with “having caused wasteful employment of police by making a false report” because she failed to disclose that Lane was her on-off boyfriend, and was issued with a fixed-penalty notice.
In July last year, the court heard Lane stole Ms Grice’s keys and broke into her home to watch her sleep.
He was cautioned for this offence and told to stay away from her, but Ms Grice’s complaints that he was following her and making “heavy breathing” calls were apparently labelled as “low risk” by police.
The jury was played a recording of a phone conversation between Ms Grice and Lane where she confronted him about his “weird” behaviour, and he was heard saying: “I’m just not right in the head."
She suggested he might need to get psychological help, to which he replied: “Obviously something’s not right, but I don’t know what it is. I need to find out, or be locked up or something.”
The court also heard Lane put a tracking device on her car and told a friend that she had to "pay for what she’s done” after hearing she had reconciled with Mr Cooke. He then sent her a letter demanding money for dinners and perfume he had bought her.
Giving evidence in his defence, tyre fitter Lane said his actions were motivated by a desire to know why she had abruptly ended their relationship.
He told the court he had sex with Ms Grice two nights before her death and claimed he was shocked when he discovered her body after her front door was left open.
He said: “I saw her slumped against the bed. She wasn’t moving. I saw blood on the bed and blood on the floor.
“She was in her dressing gown. I thought she was dead. I didn’t know what to do.”
Lane told the court he panicked and fled the scene without calling 999, checking Ms Grice’s vital signs, or telling his family about the discovery.
He admitted he hid his trainers, which had blood on them, after he heard police sirens, and that he had lied to police in interviews.
Judge Mr Justice Green told the jury it was accepted by the defence that Ms Grice was murdered, but Lane denies it was by his hand.
The police handling of Ms Grice’s complaint has been referred to watchdog, the independent police complaints commission (IPCC), and the inquiry is ongoing.
Lane denies murder and the trial continues.