Passer-by saw couple and heard screams from 'murder' underpassBy Becky Barnes
November 20, 2012
A woman vomited when she discovered there had been a murder in the underpass where earlier she had walked away from two screams, a court heard.
Speaking at the murder trial of Muhammad Shafi, 28, of Basemoors, at Reading Crown Court this morning, Charlotte Lenthall said she saw a man and a woman sitting cross-legged and facing one another as she walked through the Bay Drive underpass at just before 5am on Sunday, May 27.
Ms Lenthall, who was walking from Basemoors, Bullbrook, to start work in Crowthorne at 6am, described the man as 'dark-skinned - Indian or Pakistani, about 30 years old with short dark black hair' and 'stocky' with a 'plumpish' face.
A court heard her describe the woman with 'darkish skin with long black hair just past her shoulders'.
Ms Lenthall said as she walked past the couple the man had a 'raised voice' and the woman had her head 'lowered' - she kept walking until she was walking on the slope out of the underpass.
She told a jury of eight women and four men: "Then I heard a scream.
"I stopped and I paused and I thought should I go back and I thought no and I carried on walking.
"I thought it must be a lovers' tiff."
A court heard the witness describe how she heard another scream, both 'loud' and 'high-pitched'.
She said: "It did stick in my mind - I felt maybe I should have gone back to see what was going on."
The jury heard how it was later when Ms Lenthall returned from work and saw news of the murder investigation on the television she realised she must go to the police.
She said: "I said to my son: 'Oh I passed there this morning', then I got up and went to the toilet and I was sick."
Shafi is accused of murdering Thai-born Tuanjai Sprengel, known as 'Tuk', also of Basemoors, in the early hours of Sunday, May 27.
Ms Sprengel died from blunt force trauma to the head with injuries consistent to those caused by tin snips and a kitchen knife, a court heard.
On day two of the trial today Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl, consultant forensic pathologist who conducted a post-mortem on Ms Sprengel's battered body at Wexham Park Hospital after her death explained her injuries.
A court heard how an area of approximately 20cm by 20cm on the back of her head was covered with lacerations 'all caused by the same implement' - some which had torn down to the skull.
Ms Sprengel also suffered multiple fractures to the skull, 'serious' brain injuries, a stab wound to the neck, bruised hands, broken fingers and grazes to her face.
Dr Fegan-Earl said her brain injuries were 'not compatible with life'.
The trial continues.