Woman ‘beat herself to death’, claimed partner accused of murder

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Daniel O’Malley-Keyes trial
Sharon Perrett (37) died in August 2018

A WOMAN was brutally beaten to death at home by her partner because he was “embarrassed” by her behaviour in a pub, a murder jury was told.

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Sharon Perrett sustained 15 fractures to her ribs and 82 bruises from a sustained assault by Daniel O’Malley-Keyes at her Somerford flat, prosecutor James Newton-Price said at Winchester Crown Court.

He outlined how blood was found spattered over furniture and walls at the home in Park Gardens after an incident between about midnight on Saturday 25th August 2018 and 3am the following day.

Ms Perrett (37) had a cut above her left eye which would have “bled profusely” he continued, and there was evidence O’Malley-Keyes stamped on her hip and hit her with a belt.

Mr Newton-Price explained the defendant and Ms Perrett had been in a “turbulent” relationship for 18 months, with “frequent” arguments during which they hit each other.

Ms Perrett, a carer for the elderly, was an alcoholic who also suffered with the bowel condition Crohn’s disease, Mr Newton-Price told the jury. O’Malley-Keyes was on benefits but sometimes worked as a labourer.

The pair went out on the Saturday evening into Southbourne to celebrate O’Malley Keyes’ 38th birthday with his niece and her boyfriend, Mr Newton-Price said.

However, O’Malley-Keyes and Ms Perrett argued after her drunken behaviour “embarrassed” him at a Southbourne pub.

When he went on with his niece to another nearby venue Ms Perrett sat on a nearby bus stop where she was described as “hopelessly drunk”.

A couple became concerned for Ms Perrett as she was slumped face down on the ground without any trousers on and acting inappropriately, Mr Newton-Price said.

One of them, a nurse, stopped to help Ms Perrett, and her husband phoned 999. However as he was on the phone, O’Malley-Keyes turned up and said he was her boyfriend.

The couple stopped the 999 call and the defendant drove Ms Perrett home sometime after 9pm.

David Richardson, a neighbour directly above Ms Perrett’s ground floor flat, told police he soon heard the pair “screaming at each other” and items being thrown around before it went quiet.

Somerford murder trial
Sharon Perrett’s body was found at Park Gardens, Somerford

Mr Newton-Price described the motive of the alleged attack: “She was drunk. She had embarrassed the defendant with her public drunkenness in front of others when they were out together in Southbourne area of Bournemouth earlier that evening.”

Evidence showed that sometime after 2am O’Malley-Keyes phoned his mother Madeline and told her: “I think she’s gone.”

She and O’Malley-Keyes’ niece rushed to Ms Perrett’s flat where they found her lying naked on the bed and the flat in “disarray”, Mr Newton-Price said.

Madeline phoned the police, who arrived with an ambulance. Paramedics confirmed Ms Perrett was dead at around 3am and O’Malley-Keyes was arrested.

Examination of the flat found the kitchen had been flooded with water as part of a possible clean-up of the premises, Mr Newton-Price said.

The bed duvet had been soaked – most likely with water – and blood stains on it “diluted”, he added. The mattress was blood-stained and blood was found on a nearby wardrobe and units.

In police interview the defendant insisted he had not forcefully touched Ms Perrett, and only made contact as part of his attempts to calm or restrain her and while performing CPR.

O’Malley-Keyes told officers she “obliterated” the flat when the couple returned home – but he did not assault her. She threw water around, broke furniture and hit him with a broom handle, he added.

The defendant claimed she pulled her own hair and cut herself using broken glass, saying that in the previous three weeks she had been talking about killing herself.

Mr Newton-Price added: “He said, ‘I did not do it, I did not hit her. She did it to herself’.”

O’Malley-Keyes also claimed that injuries to his hands were not caused by assaulting his partner but by sleeping on them while in custody.

Mr Newton-Price said tests determined Ms Perrett’s blood alcohol level was four times the drink-drive limit at the time of her death. There were traces of cocaine and cannabis found in both her and O’Malley-Keyes.

The pathologist who examined her body determined Ms Perrett’s death was due to “significant” trauma that could only have been caused by blows, he added.

There was also evidence that Ms Perrett had tried to defend herself.

It was “implausible” the injuries could have been self-inflicted, according to the expert, Mr Newton-Price told the jury.

“The injuries were far too extensive and their severity and distribution are not remotely consistent with either self-inflicted injuries or life-saving chest compressions,” he said.

“There is a clear demonstration she was the victim of a brutal and unrestrained attack and that she died because of it.”

O’Malley-Keyes, of Chestnut Avenue, Bournemouth, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder and another of manslaughter.

The case continues.

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