United Kingdom

Man, 24, murdered woman, 32, and 'cut her body into pieces' above a kebab shop, a jury hears

Azum Mangori, 24, charged with murdering Lorraine Cox

A 32-year-old woman was murdered and her body mutilated above a kebab shop in Exeter city centre, a trial has been told.

Lorraine Cox, from Exeter, encountered stranger Azum Mangori, 24, by chance while walking home in the early hours at the end of the Bank Holiday weekend in August last year.

Mangori allegedly lured her back to his flat above a kebab shop in Fore Street, in the city centre, before killing and dismembering her body. He dumped her remains in woodlands. It is alleged he then spent days using her phone to convince family and friends she was still alive.

The defendant is charged with murdering Lorraine Cox between August 30 and September 9 last year. He is standing trial at Exeter Crown Court where he has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Mr Simon Laws QC said: 'One night in the summer of last year a woman named Lorraine Cox went missing in Exeter. She had been out with friends in the evening. It was a Bank Holiday Monday at the end of August.

'At about 1.30am she had set off to walk home alone. She'd had a lot to drink. Her whereabouts were a mystery to her family and friends for the next week. No one knew where she was.

Lorraine Cox, 32, was murdered and her body mutilated after a chance meeting with a stranger in Exeter city centre, a trial has been told

'The answer was that she had been killed by this defendant. She'd had the great misfortune to be spotted by him when she was walking home. He was out walking the streets alone. He went up to her, they had never met one another before. He took advantage of her drunken state to have sexual intercourse with her in an alleyway off Sidwell Street. He then led her back to his room above a kebab shop in the city centre and he killed her.

'He cut her body up into seven pieces and disposed of them. He mutilated the body in other ways. He disposed of her clothing and all the possessions she'd had with her and then he took her SIM card from her phone and used it to pretend to be her. To pretend to the world she was still alive.

'In summary he went to enormous efforts to get away with his crime but those efforts were all in vain.'

Mr Laws outlined the prosecution case on the opening day of the trial.

He said the defendant had no idea of the scale and intensity of the police investigation that would follow Lorraine's disappearance. Each step he had taken to hide the truth was discovered.

originally from the Kurdish region of Iraq and had only been in Exeter since July. Since arriving in Exeter he had been living in a room above the Bodrum Kebab House in Fore Street

Mary Arches Street, Exeter, Devon, as police launched a murder investigation into missing woman Lorraine Cox, September 10

The jury was shown CCTV revealing the pair's movements on the night Lorraine went missing. Mr Laws said she was extremely drunk but enthusiastically agreed to the sexual encounter in the alleyway.

Mangori, who Mr Laws said was sober at the time, recorded the meeting on his phone. Mr Laws said it is clear evidence he took advantage of her and had no concern for her welfare. On the recording he can be heard offering her drugs and alcohol to come back to his flat.

CCTV showed the pair walking back to his flat above a kebab shop on the corner of Mary Arches Street. Lorraine was unsteady on her feet. Once she entered, Lorraine would never be seen alive again.

It is not known how Mangori killed her, said the prosecutor. Nobody else in the kebab shop at the time knew he had brought somebody back.

'Lorraine was the sort of person who would have fought back but her death was a quiet one,' said Mr Laws.

The jury will see evidence that Mangori visited a shop to buy items he needed to dispose of the body, say the Crown.

Mr Laws said Mangori played a 'cruel deception' on Lorraine's family and friends who had launched an appeal to find her.

The jury will see evidence that Mangori visited a shop to buy items he needed to dispose of the body, say the Crown. Pictured: Ms Cox (left)

After killing her he took the SIM card from her phone and put it in his device.

The defendant's plan was to buy some time and convince Lorraine's friends she was still alive, say the prosecution. He spent the next few days disposing of her belongings and her body.

'He set about both these tasks with what can only be described as enthusiasm,' said Mr Laws.

It is alleged that by the morning of Tuesday, September 1, Mangori was using Lorraine's SIM to pretend to be her. He was in message contact with Lorraine's friends to give the impression she was in Plymouth.

The trial will also be shown DNA evidence linking Mangori to the crime. Mr Laws said Mangori used the internet to research how to cut up parts of the human body. He had viewed videos both before and after meeting her.

'You'll be in no doubt at all about what he did to her,' said Mr Laws.

The jury was shown CCTV revealing the pair's movements on the night Lorraine went missing. Pictured: Ms Cox on holiday

'It was not until eight days after she disappeared that the defendant was spoken to by police.' At that stage police did not know whether Lorraine was still alive. She had been reported missing by her father.

Mr Laws said Mangori initially lied to police and denied taking Lorraine back to his flat.

At the time she went missing Lorraine was living at her father's address in Beacon Heath, Exeter. She had recently returned from Scotland where she had been living for a short time with her girlfriend.

She had been out drinking with friends in Exeter at The Arcade and on Exeter Quay on the evening she disappeared and was walking home alone when she met Mangori by chance. He had spent the night in his room trying to contact male and female escorts.

The prosecution say he spotted her eating a kebab on a bench and 'homed in'.

He was originally from the Kurdish region of Iraq and had only been in Exeter since July. When he was arrested he gave police the false name of Christopher Mayer.

Since arriving in Exeter he had been living in a room above the Bodrum Kebab House in Fore Street. He had been working some of the time selling black market tobacco.

The jury was shown images and street views of the interior and exterior of the kebab shop. Mangori used a door at the back of the shop to come in and out of the property.

He 'kept himself to himself' according to the prosecution and was only on nodding terms with other people living there. He did not work at the kebab shop.

Mr Laws said Mangori admitted a charge of disposing of Lorraine's body but not killing her.

'He's admitted it was him who cut up and disposed of Lorraine's body thereby preventing her burial. You will not be asked to consider the question of who did that.

'As you will see it took him some time to accept that fact, overwhelming though the evidence was.'

The trial continues.

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