Craig Savage murder trial: What the jury’s heard so far

Craig Savage has been found guilty of murdering Michelle Savage and Heather Whitbread
Craig Savage has been found guilty of murdering Michelle Savage and Heather Whitbread

A man accused of murdering his ex-wife and her mother is facing trial at Lewes Crown Court.

Craig Savage, 35, of no fixed abode, is facing charges of murdering his wife of five years Michelle Savage, 32, and her mother Heather Whitbread, 53, at an address in Bexhill Road, St Leonards, on March 16.

He is also facing an additional charge of possessing a firearm with the intent to endanger public life on the same date.

Mr Savage denies the charges.

On the first day of the trial (Monday October 15) Mr Savage pleaded guilty to a charge of robbing Ryan Graves, the range officer and deputy manager at 1066 Target Sports, in Sedlescombe Road North, of a semi-automatic rifle on the day of the shooting.

St Leonards murder trial: Man accused of killing women appears in court

Benjamin Aina QC, prosecuting, presented the case against Mr Savage on Monday morning.

The prosecution accused Mr Savage of breaking into the property in Bexhill Road and shooting dead Michelle Savage, Heather Whitbread, and Zeus – Michelle’s dog, in an ‘execution type manner’ a month after his marriage to Mrs Savage broke down.

Read our full report from Monday morning here.

Mr Aina read parts of a statement provided to police by Ryan Graves and a number of emails and texts sent between Mrs Savage and the defendant between February 16 – four days after the couple split – and February 25.

The court heard how Mr Savage falsely accused his estranged wife of infecting him with an STD and threatened to share pornographic images of her if she did not sleep with him one last time. When she refused, he shared thousands of pictures on the internet, Mr Aina said.

Here is our full report of Monday afternoon’s proceedings.

On Tuesday (October 16), attention turned to the day of the shooting (Friday, March 16).

The jury heard from the two police officers to arrive at Bexhill Road who said Mr Savage turned and aimed his rifle at them as they attempted to apprehend him.

Mr Aina read from the pathologists report which said Michelle Savage was found to have wounds caused by seven gunshots.

Heather Whitbread’s body had wounds caused by six gunshots principally to the back of her body, according to the pathologist.

The pathologist concluded the cause of Zeus the dog’s death was a single gunshot wound to the lower back region.

The court also heard from Alan Kent QC, defending, who asked the jury to ‘acknowledge the emotional depths Craig Savage had sunk and the desperation he had felt’ following the break down of his marriage to Michelle Savage.

Here is our full report of Tuesday’s proceedings.

On Thursday, Lewes Crown Court heard from Michelle’s sister and Heather’s daughter Raven Whitbread, who was seven months pregnant and in the house on the night of the shooting.

She said she was eating a Chinese takeaway with her mother and sister when she heard glass smashing and saw Craig Savage entering the property.

She said she saw Mr Savage pointing something at her mother but did not believe it was a real gun at that point.

The court was also played a 999 call made by Ms Whitbread from the annex of the house, where she had hidden with her grandmother Patricia Groves.

Read our full report of Ms Whitbread’s testimony here.

The jury was also shown CCTV from the night of the shootings which shows the defendant approaching the property, where he stays for three and a half minutes, before walking away with his rifle in full visibility. You can watch the video here.

The trial continues.

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