A dangerous obsessive stabbed a 15-year-old choirgirl to death only two weeks after police were warned that he had threatened to kill her, a court has heard.
Arsema Dawit’s elderly mother begged officers to arrest her daughter’s ‘jealous and possessive’ former boyfriend after he beat up the schoolgirl then threatened to kill her, the jury was told.
But Eritrean refugee Thomas Nugusse, 22, was not stopped, the Old Bailey heard. Two weeks later, he was allegedly able to follow Arsema home from school and stab her more than 30 times, mainly in the neck, in a lift outside her home.
Nugusse was not in court – he has been deemed ‘unfit to stand trial’ after suffering brain damage when he tried to commit suicide while in custody.
Nugusse and his victim met while attending St Michael’s Church in Camberwell, South London, which has a mainly Eritrean congregation.
Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse said Nugusse, a civil engineering student who moved to Britain aged 17, became so possessive that he forbade his girlfriend from talking to friends.
He was so dominating that he would ‘snap his fingers and she would jump and do anything he wanted’, said Miss Whitehouse.
After they had been together for two years, the relationship ended in April last year, at which point Nugusse became ‘gripped by jealousy and possessiveness’, she said.
Five weeks before the fatal assault, he attacked Arsema after spotting her in a branch of McDonald’s. She was left with bruises and swelling around her eye ‘because she greeted another male who had passed her table’.
Arsema’s mother Tsehaynesh Medhane later went with her daughter to Kennington police station and showed police a photograph of the injuries.
In a witness statement, Mrs Medhane said: ‘I went to the police station and showed them the photograph. I asked police to arrest him.’
While they were at the police station, Nugusse sent a text message to Arsema, which was shown to detectives. The court was not told what action, if any, the police took.
The jury was shown CCTV footage apparently showing Nugusse following Arsema to her family’s council flat near Waterloo railway station on the afternoon of June 2 last year.
She died within minutes and her body was found lying in a pool of her own blood in the lift.
The court has been told that since his arrest Nugusse has made two suicide attempts while in custody. In the most recent – an attempted hanging on June 24 – his brain was starved of oxygen and he suffered brain damage.
As a result, he is unable to communicate or participate in proceedings.
Nugusse, of Ilford, North-East London, was charged with murder, but because he is not fit to appear, the jury will not be asked to determine his guilt or innocence.
Instead, they will be asked to decide whether he carried out the killing. The case continues.
- By Dan Newling | dailymail
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