Kelly Pearce killed in frenzied knife and hammer attack, court hears

image copyrightEssex Police
image captionKelly Pearce, 36, died after a "frenzied attack" in a flat in Essex

A woman was stabbed 40 times in the face and neck and bludgeoned to death with a hammer in a "frenzied attack", a court heard.

Kelly Pearce, 36, was found in a flat on Canvey Island in Essex on 19 November. She died later in hospital.

Anthony Ayres, 49, of Fairlop Avenue in Canvey, denies murdering her.

A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court was told Mr Ayres had previously been convicted of the murder of a woman in 1993.

The court heard Ms Pearce had sustained fatal neck wounds and skull and brain damage consistent with the use of a hammer.

Cairns Nelson QC, prosecuting, told the jury Ms Pearce, of North Avenue, was murdered in the bathroom of a flat belonging to one of her friends, Joseph Withers.

Earlier that day she had also spent some time in Mr Ayres' flat.

image captionThe victim was found at a flat in Fairlop Avenue on Canvey Island

Mr Ayres was arrested the day after Ms Pearce was found, but claimed "somebody else must have done it", Mr Nelson said.

"There's no question she was unlawfully killed, bludgeoned to death and stabbed to death. The case of the prosecution is the perpetrator is the defendant," he added.

The court heard she was the victim of a "frenzied attack" and had been stabbed stabbed 40 times in the face and neck, causing fatal wounds.

She also suffered 10 blunt force impacts to the head, causing skull and brain damage, consistent with the use of a hammer.

Jurors were shown photographs of Mr Withers' flat, where Ms Pearce was found.

"There was blood everywhere", the prosecutor said.

The trial, expected to last three weeks, continues.

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