The unemployed Northampton man accused of murdering India Chipchase has told a jury it was his “inexperience and incompetence” that led to her death after he sustained the pressure on her neck for too long.
Edward Tenniswood, aged 52, of Stanley Road, St James, who is charged with the rape and murder of Miss Chipchase, aged 20, continued giving evidence on the eighth day of his trial today (Thursday).
Birmingham Crown Court heard Tenniswood placed his hands on Miss Chipchase’s neck on two occasions when he said they had “consensual” sex.
Under cross-examination from Christopher Donnellan QC, he explained how on the second occasion he placed his hands around Miss Chipchase’s neck “without her guidance”.
He said: “I sustained the pressure for too long and that is obviously what caused her death in retrospect.
“No disrespect to her, but I was unguided and inexpert.
“It was sheer inexperience and incompetence that kept the pressure on too long or too firmly.”
After being asked by Mr Donnellan if he realised, the next day, that Miss Chipchase had died, Tenniswood said he thought she was in a “deep sleep” but did become concerned about “the paleness of her skin”.
Tenniswoood said: “Now that you mention it, the paleness of the skin would be something that made me think something wasn’t right.
“She seemed like anyone in a deep sleep. She did not respond and was in a floppy state. I assumed she was in a semi-conscious state.”
The court heard that Tenniswood re-clothed Miss Chipchase but was “unaware” she was not breathing. He said he assumed she was still alive because there was no “stiffness” in her joints.
Earlier in today’s evidence, Tenniswood had been asked by Mr Donnellan about the pictures of famous women pinned up on a wall of his house.
Tenniswood said he kept pictures from newspapers and magazines that reminded him of ex-girlfriends and said he had dated some “very attractive” women.
He said: “I have not had a hugely successful life, but I have been lucky enough to have some very attractive girlfriends, some of whom have been fashion models.”
He then named a famous fashion model who he said he had been in a relationship with.
The court heard some of the other pictures were of the girl band Little Mix who he described as “quite plain” but he was “impressed with the job the photo-stylist had done on them”.
When asked why he had put his arm around Miss Chipchase shortly after meeting her in Bridge Street, Tenniswood said he was a “very tactile” person.
Tenniswood said he “gabbled away” with Miss Chipchase in the first few minutes after meeting her and said it was “spooky” how much they had in common.
When asked by Mr Donnellan why he didn’t invite Miss Chipchase to go to the Ibis hotel for a drink rather than his “squalid” house, Tenniswood said it would be “slightly seedy” to take a woman to a hotel.
He said: “I was going home for a drink and she was a drinking companion.
“I suppose I probably thought we might drink, have some cigarettes, and she’ll get a cab home or get picked up by someone.”
When asked about the injuries on Miss Chipchase’s face and neck, Tenniswood denied inflicting them and said they had been caused when she fell while they were downstairs in his house.
Tenniswood denies charges of rape and murder. The trial continues.