Homeless Lisa Bennett 'murdered and dumped in bin'

Image source, West Midlands Police/Family handout
Image caption,
Lisa Bennett disappeared after she collected a prescription in Selly Oak in 2013

A homeless woman was murdered and "callously" dumped in a bin before her body was incinerated at a council waste facility, a court has heard.

Lisa Bennett, 39, vanished from Birmingham in 2013.

Prosecutors told the city's crown court she was killed by Kathleen Salmond and her boyfriend Kevin Flanagan so they could spend her benefits.

The pair deny murder. Ms Salmond denies benefit fraud and preventing a lawful burial - charges Mr Flanagan admits.

The court heard how Ms Bennett, a drug and alcohol addict, disappeared after she collected a prescription from a Selly Oak pharmacy on 9 May 2013.

"She was never seen or heard from again by anyone who cared for her," prosecutor Simon Denison QC said.

The prosecution alleges that Ms Salmond, 40 of Farnhurst Road, Hodge Hill and Flanagan, 39, of Redbrook Covert, Kings Norton, murdered Ms Bennett at their flat in Weoley Castle on or around the day she vanished.

Her body was then "callously disposed of...in the communal bins" before being incinerated at the council's waste disposal facility, Mr Denison said.

Ms Salmond then contacted the Department for Work and Pensions to arrange for Ms Bennett's benefits be paid into her bank account, jurors heard.

The couple later told police a man called Ian, who they said was Ms Bennett's boyfriend, arranged to collect the benefits for Ms Bennett each week.

"They were lying... Lisa Bennett was dead and her new boyfriend didn't exist," Mr Denison told the court.

Mr Denison also said that the pair were charged after Mr Flanagan's brother approached police and alleged that the defendant had told him the couple had killed Ms Bennett.

Jurors heard he approached police in 2014 after seeing a televised public appeal for information.

Mr Denison said: "Joseph Flanagan told the police that one evening… Kevin Flanagan, his brother, told him that he and Kathleen Salmond had murdered Lisa."

The trial continues.

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