Court told ‘Jekyll and Hyde character’ murdered his ex and then tried to cover it up

Daniel Bates, 45, of Beach Gardens, Selsey

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A JILTED lover with a ‘Jekyll and Hyde character’ murdered his ex after she refused to take him back - then tried to cover it up, a court heard.

Care scheme manager Debbie Levey, 44, was found dead at her rented Cherry Tree Cottage home in East Ashling by a colleague on January 28 last year.

A 12-strong jury at Lewes Crown Court heard the twice-divorced mum-of-one had been dead for several hours and had fresh love bites on her neck.

Her ex Phillip Brown, a driver in his mid 40s from Selsey, later told police he had visited her home the previous afternoon but had received no answer when he texted and knocked on the door.

There was no sign of a break-in or foul play.

However prosecutor Mark Dennis QC said three features ‘didn’t fit.’

Ms Levey’s mobile phone was discovered at the bottom of a fish tank next to the sofa where she was found dead.

Mr Dennis said marks on the back and side of her neck ‘had the appearance of fresh love bites left by another person prior to death.’

Ms Levey was covered up to her neck with a blanket that was barely creased.

A post-mortem examination revealed she died between 6pm and 8:45pm.

Mr Dennis said: ‘What the post-mortem examination did find, however, were tell-tale signs which were consistent with death having been caused by asphyxiation, in this case suffocation which could easily have been caused by smothering.’

Forensic tests later revealed saliva from the large love bite on the back of Debbie Levey’s neck ‘fully matched’ Phillip Brown’s DNA.

DNA samples matching Brown’s profile were also found on her face, hand and foot.

His fingerprint was found on a glass in the kitchen and semen on a bed sheet in an upstairs bedroom.

He was later arrested and charged with murder.

The court heard Debbie had undergone a hysterectomy shortly before her death and had only recently returned to work.

The pair had met through her work at Leaholme care home in Chichester but she had ended their relationship two months before her death.

The court heard there was a ‘somewhat possessive and controlling’ side to Brown and he did not accept their relationship was over.

Mr Dennis said: ‘The deceased had commented to friends that she also found the defendant had a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character.’

He later added: ‘[Brown] wouldn’t accept that the relationship had finished. He became somewhat obsessed by her.’

The court heard Brown regularly sent text messages either trying to win her back or threatening to harm himself or ‘destroy’ Ms Levey.

Brown sent an email to her workplace claiming she had been guilty of misconduct from a bogus email account - which he later retracted.

Mr Dennis said: ‘He threatened that he would do something stupid like kill himself if she didn’t take him back. ‘He even sent a photograph by text message purporting to cut his own forearm, in the message - ‘Look at what I’ve done to myself, I can’t cope without you.’

Mr Dennis later said Brown remains ‘in a state of denial.’

He said: ‘[Deborah Levey’s] death was a fault of foul play at his hands.’

Brown denies murder.

(Proceeding)