‘I begged sister to come home but she was dead in a suitcase’
The sister of a woman who was killed by her partner and left in a suitcase in their garage told a jury today how she could not understand her disappearance and left a message begging her to come home for Christmas.
Katie Stewart, 27, said she became concerned for her sister Marie, 30, after she apparently went missing last December, leaving her partner Andrew Lindo and her two young children.
Lindo, 29, has admitted killing Miss Stewart by strangling, battering and stabbing her, before putting her in a suitcase and leaving it in their garage.
Lindo admits manslaughter but denies murder.
Today, Katie Stewart told a jury at Bradford Crown Court that she could not believe Marie had gone missing, especially as she was so excited about Christmas with the children.
She said: "I couldn't believe she would leave a couple of days before Christmas. I left her a voicemail on Christmas Eve begging her to come home for Christmas."
She added: "I never heard her voice again."
Prosecutors allege Lindo murdered Marie Stewart on December 18.
Katie Stewart told the court how she received text messages from her sister after this date, "just saying she was fine and she wanted to be left alone and we were all getting worked up over nothing".
She told the jury how she became more suspicious, especially after finding her sister's passport when she had thought she was abroad.
Miss Stewart also explained how she repeatedly offered to take down Lindo's Christmas decorations because he was so busy.
She said they needed to be taken down and put back in the garage but Lindo refused.
"He was quite defensive," she said and told her he would do it.
She said the key to the garage was not in its usual place in the door.
Miss Stewart said she eventually decided to call the police about her concerns on January 23. A recording of the phone call was played to the jury.
But, she said, the police decided to "close it as a missing person case".
She said this decision followed something her father had said to officers.
But, she said, she contacted police again on February 12 with her mother and a friend of her sister's, who is a police officer.
The jury has heard how Marie Stewart's body was found on February 13 and Lindo was arrested.
The case was adjourned until tomorrow.