South East Wales

Tracey Woodford murder trial: 'Woman's body mutilated'

Christopher May Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Christopher May outside court before a previous hearing

A woman was mutilated and dismembered after she was murdered in a sexually motivated attack, a court heard.

Police officers found parts of Tracey Woodford's body in a shower along with a saw and knives three days after she had been reported missing, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

Ms Woodford, 47, was discovered at a flat in Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, on 24 April 2015.

Christopher May, 50, of Graig, Pontypridd, denies her murder.

Mrs Justice Nicola Davies warned the jury that some of the evidence would be "distressing" during the two-week trial.

Jurors heard that, after the discovery in the bathroom, the arresting police officer asked where the rest of Ms Woodford's body parts were, and the defendant replied: "Some is in the cupboard and some in the storm drain at Pontypridd RFC."

'Harrowing'

The court was also told a woman's decapitated torso was recovered from a black bag in a kitchen cupboard and a right thumb was found in a handbag along with a purse with Ms Woodford's bank cards.

Roger Thomas QC, prosecuting, said the defendant claimed he either acted in self-defence, it was an accident or he lost self-control.

"The defendant admits his actions were responsible in causing her death but disputes his conduct amounts to murder," said Mr Thomas.

"The prosecution submits, quite simply, this was a deliberate, brutal, vicious and sexually-motivated murder."

He added: "The circumstances surrounding her death are harrowing and distressing. After her death she was mutilated and dismembered.

"These actions were carried out deliberately and methodically with the clear intention of concealing the body parts, and thereby evading detection and arrest."

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Ms Woodford was last seen alive while walking with Mr May to his home, the court heard

The court heard Ms Woodford, who lived with her brother and mother, visited a number of pubs after shopping at Pontypridd's Cash Generator store on 21 April.

She was refused alcohol after appearing intoxicated at the town's Skinny Dog pub at about 19:45 BST, but joined Mr May and two other men who were drinking at a table.

A barmaid said the men were "merry" after drinking six to eight pints, the barrister added.

After the group left the pub at 23:20 BST, Ms Woodford was seen walking with Mr May in the general direction of his home in Andrew's Court.

"That was the last time that anybody saw her alive, apart from, of course, the defendant," Mr Thomas said.

He explained how, three days after she had been reported missing, enquiries led two police officers to Mr May's flat on Friday 24 April.

Mr Thomas said they discovered a "truly gruesome sight".

"When the officer pulled back the shower curtain he was confronted with a sight he had never seen before and certainly did not expect," he said.

The trial has been adjourned until Wednesday.

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