A DRIVER accused of murdering his ex-lover used love bites to ‘brand’ her, it was claimed in court today (January 16).
Phillip Brown, a driver in his 40s from Selsey, is charged with murdering his former lover Debbie Levey, 44, of Cherry Tree Cottage, in East Ashling, in January last year.
A colleague of Ms Levey’s at the Leaholme care home, in Gilmore Road, Chichester, told the jury Brown used to laugh when challenged about his habit of giving her the marks.
“You call them love bites, I would prefer to call it branding myself,” said Anna-Marie Lee, when questioned by prosecutor Mark Dennis QC on the marks.
She added Ms Levey got ‘extremely upset’ when Brown left the love bites on her, and it once took 45 minutes to cover one of them with foundation make up.
“She was a 43-year-old woman and she was embarrassed,” she said. “There were numerous times.
“One particular time Phillip turned up where we worked. He came into the foyer and I was furious.”
She told the court she said to Brown: “‘She’s not a 16-year-old girl, pack it in. She’s embarrassed.’”
She then said: “He just laughed and walked away.”
The jury had already heard that Ms Levey was found with a fresh love bite on her neck when her body was discovered at home early on January 28, 2012 by a colleague.
A forensic pathologist told the court he believed she had been smothered and died of asphyxia.
Saliva found from a large love bite to the back of her neck was found to have a DNA profile that matched Brown’s.
When opening for the prosecution, Mark Dennis QC said that considering Ms Levey showered and bathed twice a day, the finding of saliva clearly showed Brown had been at her house on the day she died – something he denies.
Police’s suspicions aroused
Brown was arrested just after 7pm the day Ms Levey’s body was discovered, after being quizzed by detectives.
He claimed to have been invited to the victim’s house on Sunday, January 27, 2012, and but received no reply when he rang the bell.
According to detective sergeant Mark Gowling, of Sussex Police, Brown said he drove away after 8pm, after waiting around five hours.
He did not seem surprised by the police’s questions and at no stage asked if anything was wrong.
Indeed, he gave the impression he did not know anything was wrong until his daughter phoned him during his police interview and told him the woman he called his ‘fiance’ was dead.
“Immediately, Phillip Brown burst into tears,” DS Gowling told the jury.
“You could see he was upset, he was distressed upon hearing this information.
“Phillip after a little while composed himself and asked the questioners ‘is this the reason why you’re talking to me’, and I confirmed with him that this was the case.”
Three hours after attending the police station, he was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Prosecutor Mark Dennis QC said Brown was ‘adamant’ he had not entered Cherry Tree Cottage when he spoke to police and that he sat outside in his Vauxhall Vectra for five hours waiting for her.
A neighbour saw a car fitting this description parked opposite Ms Levey’s house, but the jury has heard no one was seen in it.
Evidence obtained by the police later showed that Ms Levey in fact spoke to friends from her home telephone at 3.12pm and 6.03pm, the time when the defendant claims to have been waiting outside for her to return.
Brown was charged with murder in May, 2013.
He denies the charge and his defence case is due to start next week.