“I might be a lot of things, but I am not a murderer.”
This was the defiant outburst from a Selsey driver charged with killing his ex-lover a year ago.
Phillip Brown, in his mid 40s, denies smothering Debbie Levey at her East Ashling home on January 27, 2013.
Giving evidence at Lewes Crown Court today (January 24), he said: “I loved her to bits. I couldn’t imagine spending a day without her.”
The prosecution believes Brown went to Ms Levey’s home, Cherry Tree Cottage, had sex with her and later smothered her with a cushion in her living room.
Brown says he went to the house at her invitation, adding they hoped to start a ‘covert relationship’, but no one was home and he waited outside for five hours without going inside, eventually driving away.
Ms Levey was discovered by a colleague around 7.30am on Monday, January 28, 2013. She was a care manager at the Leaholme care home, in Gilmore Road, Chichester.
“I didn’t go into that property at all. I didn’t see her at all that day. I didn’t suffocate her at all,” said Brown.
He has admitted sending the woman he wanted to marry numerous abusive and hurtful messages, at one point saying he hoped she died on the operating table when she had a hysterectomy.
He said there was ‘no excuse’ for sending the messages, adding it was ‘despicable’.
“It’s the worst thing I could have ever done,” he said.
“I don’t know how I could even type such a message, let alone send it to someone I love.”
While giving evidence he wiped tears from his eyes, however when quizzed by the prosecution grew defiant.
“For God’s sake, it’s not rocket science,” he exclaimed when questioned closely on one particular aspect of his testimony.
Prosecuting, Mark Dennis QC said to Brown one of his messages was ‘petulant, nasty and spiteful’.
Brown ‘can’t explain’ how his DNA came to be at Cherry Tree Cottage
DNA evidence found in the home and on Ms Levey’s body matched Brown’s profile. He claims not to have been to Cherry Tree Cottage for several weeks beforehand after they broke up in November, 2012, and not to have seen Ms Levey since the previous Thursday, January 24.
“All I can say is that we had contact on January 24 and anything else that was found on Debbie I don’t know how it got there,” said Brown.
He said he was ‘angry’ and ‘annoyed’ when charged by police in May, 2013.
“I can’t believe that they would believe that I would hurt her,” he said.
When asked by defence counsel Samuel Stein QC what he made of the prosecution’s questions, he said: “I understand that he has to ask them, but if he thinks I’m the sort of person that goes around killing women then he’s wrong.”
Denies being ‘two faced’
Mr Dennis described Brown as ‘controlling’ and ‘possessive’ and that he developed an ‘obsession’ for Ms Levey.
Between November 5, 2012, when they split up and January 28, 2013, 1,087 text messages were sent between the pair.
Even though she had broken up with him, Mr Dennis said Ms Levey was ‘vulnerable’ and because of her insecurities still used to text Brown.
“Numerous messages from March through to January show a very needy person who during stages when the relationship is off is still communicating with you,” he said.
Mr Dennis claimed there was ‘another side’ to Brown’s character, describing it as a ‘green-eyed jealousy’ that overtook him and led him to send the messages, including one trying to get her fired from her job.
He said it was this same ‘two-faced’ character which might have seen Brown turn on Ms Levey the night she died.
Brown denied this.
“There’s not another side of me. There’s just me. There’s one side. That’s it.”
The trial continues at Lewes Crown Court on Monday (January 27) and the jury are scheduled to consider a verdict next week.