A MECHANIC accused of killing his ex-girlfriend said he went to her house on the morning she died to “make sure” she did not speak to him again, a court heard.
Michael Lane said he and Shana Grice had agreed on August 23 last year to go their separate ways once and for all.
The pair had an affair after meeting through work at Brighton Fire Alarms before beginning a short-lived public relationship in the months leading up to her death.
During their last liaison, they mutually agreed to part and cut all contact, Lane said.
The 19-year-old former Hove Park student’s body was found two days later in her bedroom in Chrisdory Road, Portslade.
At Lewes Crown Court this morning when asked why he told police he went to her house two days later – the day of her death – he said: “To go and speak to her to make sure she didn’t talk to me again.”
His response prompted sighs from the packed public gallery.
During cross examination while Lane, 27, was in the dock, prosecutor Philip Bennetts asked: “You had agreed [not to see each other], you had parted on good terms. Why did you go to her house?
Lane said: “I didn’t want us to be in contact again.”
Mr Bennetts also asked Lane if he had been stalking Miss Grice.
He said: “I suppose so, yes.”
But he told jurors he never followed her and had only installed a tracker on her car to “see where she was”.
Lane claims he found Miss Grice dead in her room but did not tell anyone because he feared he would be blamed.
He admitted hiding trainers covered in her blood in a field. He previously denied stashing the Lonsdale trainers by New Barn Farm in Portslade when questioned by detectives.
He said he dumped them in the days after he was arrested on suspicion of her murder because he “panicked” and was “scared”.
When asked why he was panicked and scared he said he did not know.
The trial previously heard the evidence of police officer Louise Sparks, who said that at about 1.30pm on August 30 she spotted Lane running along Thornhill Rise, where he lived, into Fox Way with white trainers which had black soles in his right hand.
She saw him run into a field filled with waist-high rye and followed him.
In a statement read out in court she said: “He was running as quickly as possible. He stopped running and was walking through the centre of the field.”
Around 15 minutes later Lorraine Ball, who was house sitting for friends who own nearby New Barn Farm, spotted someone she identified as Lane standing on the track leading to the property, Lewes Crown Court heard.
In a witness statement she said she read news articles in the days following Miss Grice’s death which featured pictures of Lane.
She said: “Halfway along the road I saw a person about 20 feet away. I was driving very slowly. As I drove past him I put up my hand to acknowledge my thanks. I saw his face. The man didn’t look at me as I did. He almost turned away from me so he was looking at the bushes. I thought immediately it was the man I had seen in the news article.”
She looked at him again and, finding a police officer by the farm, told him about Lane, who had vanished.
She said: “It was almost as if he disappeared,” the court heard.
The following day at around 2.40pm, officers found a pair of white Lonsdale trainers in a hedge on the path leading to New Barn Farm.
Tests found blood on the trainers matched that of Miss Grice, the court heard.
In a scientist's opinion, the bloody footprint found at Miss Grice's house was made by a Lonsdale trainer, prosecutor Philip Bennetts previously told jurors.
When interviewed, Lane told police while he was at New Barn Farm his mother had been calling him, he thought to tell him she had received a phone call from The Argus.
Today he told the jury how he had hidden the trainers and went back to move them because he knew they had blood on them.
He said: “I was going to take them back to mum and talk to mum about them, about what to do with them and how to hand them in.”
But then he saw the car and “hid them in a bush”.
Then he recognised a policeman who had taken him into custody, so called his mum and asked her to pick him up and never told her about the trainers, he said.
When asked why he did not tell police where the trainers were he said he “knew” they would find them.
Lane, of Thornhill Rise, Portslade, repeatedly denied plotting to murder her, killing her, or setting her and her bedroom on fire.
The trial continues.