Battersea woman lay dead as lodger plundered her benefits, court told

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Battersea woman lay dead as lodger plundered her benefits, court told

Postby Community Editor » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:59 am

A woman was killed by her lodger and her body then left to rot for weeks as he plundered her bank account, a court has heard.

Ireland-born Antoinette Donnegan, 52, was allegedly murdered by Kristian Smith, 42, at her home in Este Road, Battersea, last February.

As she lay dead in her bedroom, Smith, 42, pushed clothes against the door to hide the smell and continued to live in the one-bedroom council flat, the Old Bailey was told.

Jurors heard that, within minutes of her benefits being paid into her account, Smith withdrew hundreds of pounds in cash using her bank card.

On March 7 last year, police discovered Ms Donnegan's decomposing body after concerns were raised for her welfare, the court was told.

Prosecutor Louis Mably QC said: "She appeared to have been assaulted. There was blood on the floor by her head, and there was blood on furniture in the bedroom."

He told jurors that officers also noticed that clothes had been pushed against the door as a makeshift "draught excluder".

The court heard that Ms Donnegan and Smith shared a drug addiction and went to the same recovery centre.

She was last seen on February 1 last year but her bank card continued to be used and her benefits withdrawn in the weeks before her body was found, jurors were told.

At 12.04am on February 4, Ms Donnegan's benefits of more than £300 were paid in to her account and, two minutes later, £200 was withdrawn from an ATM machine, the court heard.

Mr Mably told jurors: "Someone knew the benefits were coming in at that time and someone had been standing, waiting at the cashpoint all that time. Two minutes after they thought the benefits arrived, they put the card into the machine and checked the money had arrived and immediately took out £200.

"What you will see, the bleeding of the account when the benefits came in. And that carries on throughout February.

"Unfortunately for Mr Smith, he was caught on CCTV using the bank card and when he was arrested he was found to have the bank card in his possession.

"What he was doing was concealing the dead body by putting clothes against the door to hide the smell and using the bank card to take Ms Donegan's benefits throughout February."

Smith, of no fixed address, denies murder between January 31 and March 7 last year. 

Photo: Antoinette Donnegan
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