A woman who agreed to pole dance for her former boyfriend was murdered and had her body set alight, a court has heard.
Louise Rump’s body was found by firefighters who were called out when neighbours saw smoke pouring from her flat in the village of Kensworth, Bedfordshire.
The 29-year-old was found at the foot of her bed, with prosecutors saying she had been killed by her ex-boyfriend and his friend.
The body of Louise Rump was found by firefighters at the foot of her bed after smoke was seen pouring from her flat on October 16, 2020
A post-mortem determined the 29-year-old had died of asphyxia before her body was set on fire
David Matthew, prosecuting, told St Albans Crown Court she had been killed after her security guard ex-partner Habib Jackson made a ‘deal’ with her.
‘She was going to dance for him in underwear he selected,’ Mr Matthew said.
‘That deal went badly wrong. The fire brigade found her dead. She had been killed by asphyxia.’
Jackson, 32, of Dunstable Road, Toddington, and his business partner and fellow security guard Christopher Hayward, also 32, of Fensome Drive, Houghton Regis, both deny murder.
Jackson is being tried in his absence after he refused to leave prison to come to court today, Judge Michael Kay QC told the jury today.
His co-accused, Hayward, is being aided in court by an intermediary to help him understand everything that is being said.
Opening the case, Mr Matthew said: ‘Louise Rump was killed on Friday October 16 2020. She was 29 at the time. She was killed in her flat in Plewes Close, Kensworth.’
He said she had been alive and well earlier in the day when neighbours had seen her and she had exchanged WhatApp messages with a cousin until 11.15 in the morning.
‘Sometime between a quarter past eleven and half past midday she was killed.
Habib Jackson and Christopher Haywood, who both work as security guards, have been charged with her murder
Prosecutors allege Ms Rump performed a pole dance for her ex-boyfriend Jackson, after which she was killed
‘Both of these defendants, in that one hour 15 minutes, were at her address. She was found dead after they left.
‘The pathologist found she had been killed by asphyxia before her body was set on fire.’
He added: ‘There was signs of an attack with bruising on her face, her left hand, wrist and pelvis.
‘The fire was a quite deliberate attempt to destroy the traces her attacker might have left.’
The court heard that Jackson’s and Haywood’s cars were tracked driving from Toddington to Kensworth on the morning of the killing by CCTV, Automatic Number Plate Recognition and telephone records.
A court heard that CCTV captured cars being driven by the pair entering and leaving the village around the time of her death
At 12.31pm the two cars were caught leaving the village on CCTV from a local shop.
The jury was told Jackson could be seen stopping by the side of the road, and dumping a jumper with Ms Rump’s blood on it and a cardboard box.
When the fire fighters entered the flat they found a pole dancer’s pole in the lounge and Louise’s body in the bedroom.
Mr Matthew said: ‘That was where the fire was lit. The curtains had caught fire and there was smoke damage.
‘At the end of the bed was a plastic water bottle. There is reason to think there had been petrol or some accelerant in it to get the fire going.’
A jury was told that Jackson and Ms Rump had been in a relationship but this had ended about a year before her death
The jury was told Jackson referred to himself as Louise’s ‘Sugar Daddy’ at times. The pair had been involved in a relationship that had ended about a year earlier.
In a message on October 15 Jackson wrote to Ms Rump: ‘It has been a year baby, since I was deep where I belong.’
He went on: ‘Can’t you give me what I crave?’ She replied: ‘No.’
Mr Matthew said Jackson paid Ms Rump for ‘deal questions’ when he asked her about sexual activity.
Referring to the planned pole dance Jackson wrote: ‘G-string and undies ready?’
When Jackson was questioned by the police the day after the killing he said they had an on-off relationship.
He denied he had been to the flat on the day of the killing but said he had been there on Thursday February 15 when they had a play fight and she had scratched his face.
The prosecutor said there was a scratch on Jackson’s face under his right eye.
Hayward made no comment to answer police questions.
The trial continues.