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A lab assistant who strangled a colleague to death then dumped her body in a country lane stunned workmates by showing nude photos of her in the lead-up to the killing, a court heard today.
Ross McCullum attacked HR advisor Megan Newborough, 23, in the living room of the home he shared with his parents before cutting her throat with a carving knife to 'make sure she was dead', prosecutors claim.
In a bid to cover his tracks, the 30-year-old went on to bundle Miss Newborough, who he'd been in a relationship with for around a month, into her own car and drove to a remote rural location near the village of Woodhouse Eaves, Leicestershire.
There, he threw her over a stone wall into dense undergrowth.
She was eventually found two days later after her worried parents reported her missing from their home in Nuneaton, Warkwickshire.
The court heard that Megan Newborough, (pictured) a 23-year-old HR worker, had told her colleague that Ross McCullum, 30, was a 'nice' but 'a bit rough around the edges', Leicester Crown Court heard
McCullum (pictured in a court sketch) has admitted manslaughter but denies a charge of murder
But jurors at Leicester Crown Court have been told that while Miss Newborough's family and friends began to panic over her disappearance, McCullum was browsing the internet searching for domination porn and information on serial killers - as well as Googling: 'Who cuts your hair in prison and how do you pay?'
He was also sending bogus messages and making calls to Miss Newborough's iPhone, which he had also disposed of in an isolated spot, to make it appear as though she'd left his home alive, it was alleged.
And it has now been revealed that in the days before Miss Newborough's death, on the evening of August 6 last year shortly after she arrived at his home for the first time in their fledgling relationship, McCullum surprised fellow lab workers by showing them intimate pictures of her - and claiming they would eventually 'move in together and get married.'
Joe Howard, a senior lab technician at Leicester-based Ibstock Brick, where the pair worked, told the court on the sixth day of McCullum's trial that he also boasted he was going to spend a 'dirty weekend' with Miss Newborough and was 'excited' by the thought.
He went on to describe McCullum as 'boisterous', especially if he hadn't taken his medication for the condition ADHD - and said: 'To me, they were two completely different people.
'Ross could be very chaotic, while Megan already had things listed, and planned for the future.
Miss Newborough's body was discovered on a country road (pictured) near Woodhouse Eaves, Leicestershire
'Megan was coming into the lad, and they were acting almost like a couple together.
I caught them hugging and kissing in the lab itself.
'Ross spoke to me about their relationship, from his point of view. He said it started as just talking, to just sex, to a full-blown relationship.
'One day in the lab he embarrassingly told me they had had sex with each other.
'He showed me pictures of Megan in varying nudity.
I asked him why he'd shown me that. He shrugged it off and said, "Well, if she finds out" - then showed me a picture of himself. Again, I said, "Why are you showing me that? It's inappropriate."'
John Cammegh KC, prosecuting, had previously said that after killing Miss Newborough, McCullum viewed YouTube videos about infamous convict Charles Bronson, and repeatedly researched serial killer Levi Belfield, who murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, Soham killer Ian Huntley, https://moresisek.cc/video/bdsm Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, with who it was said he had 'quite an interest', 'Doctor Death' Harold Shipman, and the Manchester Arena bombing.
He added: 'You may think the record of the defendant's use of the internet provides a twenty-twenty insight not just as to what he was browsing online but, more so perhaps, into his very mindset.'
The prosecutor said the 'unusual' internet browsing, which also featured searches of the news, took place the night McCullum, of Coalville, Leicestershire, killed Miss Newborough and disposed of her body, and continued the following morning.
Miss Newborough's body was found on August 8 after her worried parents reported her missing from their home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire
He was arrested on suspicion of kidnap after the victim was reported missing at 12pm that day, admitting when quizzed by police that she was dead, and telling officers where they could find her body.
The jury has heard he accepts killing her, and has admitted manslaughter but denies murder, claiming he was suffering from 'either through a temporary loss of control or an abnormality of the mind' at the time of her death.
Miss Newborough and McCullum met in June last year, after she and a colleague visited the laboratory department to carry out an audit.
In an interview with police after his arrest, McCullum claimed he killed her after becoming 'agitated' when she 'attempted to touch him intimately'.
Mr Cammegh told the court: 'He told police that when he told her to get off she slapped him, at which he lost control of himself and started to strangle her.
He told police his loss of control was triggered by memories of when he was sexually abused by children older than him when he was young.'
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The jury heard that around 3,500 WhatsApp messages were subsequently recovered by police between the pair, with the conversation 'quickly changing from appearing largely innocent to overwhelmingly sexual'.
Mr Cammegh said that Megan was initially as 'enthusiastic in sharing her sexual desires as the defendant is his' - but there came a point 'where the tone of the defendant's messaging becomes increasingly distorted and unpleasant.'
He added: 'Sexual fetishes emerge: he demands Megan address him as 'lord commander' in fantasised scenarios.
'It may be flippant, but you might think it's a sign of what truly lies beneath.'
McCullum has admitted manslaughter, but denies murder.
The trial continues.