Susan Howells: Dale Tarbox 'buried body behind caravan'

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Susan Howells' body was burned, left in a cellar and then buried at a caravan site

An "aggressive and volatile" man murdered a woman staying at his house and buried her body on a caravan site, a court has heard.

Susan Howells, 52, was last seen at her home in Harrogate in February 2019 and reported missing in August.

Leeds Crown Court heard Dale Tarbox, 40, also initially tried to burn her body and had left her remains in the cellar of a rented property.

Mr Tarbox denies murder and had told police he was "baffled and in shock".

Prosecutor David Brooke QC told the court Mr Tarbox was living with 63-year-old Joan Arnold but was also involved with Ms Howells, who spent time at his rented home in Independent Street in Bradford.

The court heard Ms Howells was probably strangled at the property in Bradford and attempts had been made to dispose of her body before Mr Tarbox and Ms Arnold had their tenancy terminated and they moved to a caravan site in Doncaster.

When Ms Howells, who was described by her family as having a moderate learning disability, was reported missing, police spoke to Dale Tarbox.

He initially told them he had not seen her for six months.

But Ms Arnold told police she thought Ms Howells' body had been buried behind the caravan they were renting.

Both Mr Tarbox and Ms Arnold had continued to withdraw benefits paid to Ms Howells by using her Post Office account card at cash machines for months after her death.

The court heard Mr Tarbox was "an aggressive, volatile individual and highly manipulative".

He told police that his 63-year-old partner had attacked and strangled Ms Howells with a dressing gown cord but having stopped the attack "exhausted, he then fell asleep and woke to find Ms Howells dead."

The case continues.

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