Man accused of killing ex-wife and covering body up with pile of clothes while kids were home


A woman suffered severe injuries when she was allegedly killed in her own home by her “controlling” former partner, a court heard.

The murder trial of Jade Ward-s ex-husband, Russell Norman James Marsh, began on March 21.

Marsh, 29, denies the murder of Ms Ward, a mum-of-four, and an alternative charge of manslaughter. Prosecutor, Michael Jones, told the jury at Mold Crown Court that Ms Ward was found dead in August 2021 at her home de ella in Shotton, Wales, where she lived with her four children.

Cheshire Live reports that she sustained “horrific” injuries across her body before being suffocated and covered by a pile of clothes.

The court heard that on the night Ms Ward died, August 26, Marsh was working a night shift in Ellesmere Port. A number of hours into his shift, Mr Jones said that Marsh told his supervisor he needed to leave, claiming that his brother had taken an overdose and he needed to go to hospital.

This was “completely untrue”, the court was told by the prosecutor. He said Marsh was tracked by CCTV, ANPR cameras and phone masts heading into North Wales and arriving at the former family home in Shotton. Mr Jones said the couple had separated on three occasions, but had split in summer 2021. He said close friends and family members heard Ms Ward saying that this time the separation was “for good”.

Russell Norman James Marsh, 29
Russell Norman James Marsh, 29

Ms Ward allegedly shared a kiss with another man at a party and was “moving on” with her life. This information made its way back to Marsh who was described in court as being “controlling” over his partner. Mr Jones said that Marsh would call Ms Ward “regularly” when they were not together and would make a habit of turning up at her workplace de ella at the Co-op on Central Drive in Aston, which was less than five minutes from their former home of her

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Marsh “refused to accept” the relationship was over, and had been heard saying words to the effect of “if I can’t have her, nobody can”, the prosecutor told the court. Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rogers examined Ms Ward’s body de ella, and his report de ella said she suffered multiple injuries “across her body de ella”, including slashes across her face and arms as well as stab wounds.

He said Ms Ward had some “defensive” wounds present, specifically around the hands, showing that she “made efforts” to fight off her attacker, the court heard. Grip marks had left her with bruises around her throat. Mr Jones said the expert determined Ms Ward’s “horrific” injuries concluded with her suspected cause of death, which is believed to be asphyxiation. I have added this could only be carried out by another person.

Mold Crown Court
Mold Crown Court

Marsh was said to have taken the children, who were present in the house when Ms Ward died, to his parent’s home in Blacon, Cheshire. The next day, he handed himself in to the police and said “something terrible” had happened. The court heard that Marsh left Ms Ward’s body “mutilated” and later made claims that her “dreadful” injuries were the result of a “sadomasochistic sexual request”. This, however, has never been proven, said the prosecutor.

Mr Jones said this was not, as the defendant tried to convince the police, a “loving encounter”. Instead, it was a “brutal and sadistic attack” launched against a woman Marsh saw having “the audacity” to move on with her life, he said. The trial continues at Mold Crown Court and it is expected to last up to two weeks.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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