Soldier Guilty Of Ex-Girlfriend's Murder

26 April 2017, 15:15

Alice Ruggles

A soldier's been found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend at her flat in Gateshead after she ended their relationship

Lance Corporal Trimaan "Harry" Dhillon, 26, was convicted of murdering Alice Ruggles and leaving her to bleed to death on her bathroom floor last October.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that she was terrified of him and had got an official police warning to stop him from contacting her, but the obsessive and manipulative Special Forces hopeful ignored it, and drove from his Edinburgh barracks to Tyneside to kill her in a jealous temper.

Alice's flatmate Maxine McGill discovered Alice dead and made this 999 call. 

Detective Chief Inspector Lisa Theaker from Northumbria Police led the investigation into Alice's murder.

She's been speaking to Capital and says despite the fact Alice had contacted police before, no one could have predicted what would happen to her:


UPDATED- 24th April 2017

Today, Lance Corporal Dhillon denied breaking into Alice Ruggles' flat, catching her unawares and stabbing her.

He asked the QC leading the cross-examination  "if you are that confident, why not give me a lie detector".

The judge told him - "That is not how we conduct proceedings."

He told the court he felt heartbroken and devastated by the sight of her injuries, but panicked, and didn't call her an ambulance.

The prosecution said while Alice had 24 injuries - Dhillon didn't have a single one from the knife.

Dhillon claims that he had gone to retrieve some clothes from Alice, that they rowed and she attacked him with a carving knife, and that she died when she accidentally stabbed herself as he tried to disarm her.

Prosecutor Mr Wright asked: "Did you ever consider you had done the worst job ever at protecting somebody from themselves?''

Dhillon replied: "Yes, I have done the worst job, yes.''

Mr Wright said: "Alice wanted to live and she fought for her life that afternoon and you killed her.''

Dhillon replied: "No, I did not kill her.''

Jamie Hill QC, defending, asked: "You said you did not know how you felt afterwards. How do you feel now?''

Dhillon replied: " When I was in prison, sometimes I would sit up in the night time and you know when people say 'It's all a bad dream', it's all going to go away. I'm going to wake up one day and none of this will have happened.

"On that day I didn't know what I was doing. That was the shortest drive from Newcastle to my camp. I don't even remember that drive.''

The trial continues

UPDATED- 20th April 2017 

A soldier accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend has told a court she stabbed herself in the neck, as she lunged at him with a carving knife at the same moment he tried to disarm her.

Lance Corporal Trimaan "Harry'' Dhillon described a lengthy struggle through Alice Ruggles' Gateshead flat in October last year, that ended with her bleeding to death and him "panicking'' rather than ringing 999.

The 26-year-old denies murdering his ex-girlfriend after he turned up at her home, despite her getting an official police warning telling him to stay away.

The trial continues. 

UPDATED - 13th April 2017 

A soldier accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend is claiming a combination of "self-defence and accident'', a court has heard.

But a Home Office pathologist said her findings were "inconsistent'' with Lance Corporal Trimaan "Harry'' Dhillon's explanation of how Alice Ruggles died during an unexpected visit to her Gateshead flat last October.

Newcastle Crown Court was told the 2 Scots signaller is claiming in his defence statement that the 24-year-old had scratched him and that he tried to restrain her in a headlock before she came at him with a carving knife and it ended up lodged in her neck.

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, said Dhillon, 26, had first told police he had not gone into the flat, but his story changed when it was disclosed that Miss Ruggles' blood had been found on his Help For Heroes wristband and the steering wheel of his BMW.

In the defence statement, Dhillon denies murder but admits he was the only person with her when she died, the jury heard.

Mr Wright said Dhillon claims it was a "combination of self-defence and accident''.

The defendant claims they had a row in the yard, that he climbed through a window to get into the flat and tried to find clothes belonging to him, and that Miss Ruggles came at him with a carving knife.

Dhillon says he put her in a headlock and she collapsed in the bathroom, falling on some scales and cutting her nose.

Later, he claims she grabbed the knife again when he told her he was going to meet a woman in Durham.

And she lunged at him, hitting her head on the sink, he claims.

In the struggle, Dhillon claims she suffered a loss of balance and, as they came together, the momentum pushed the knife into the side of her throat.

As she fell, it was pushed further in, his defence case states.

By this stage, she was bleeding heavily, and the Special Forces hopeful then says he suffered a flashback to a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

He tried to pull the knife out, but it was stuck at first, he claims.

His statement says Dhillon drove back to his barracks near Edinburgh, contemplating suicide.

Pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton found Miss Ruggles' had at least six injuries to her neck. 

Miss Ruggles also suffered a deep cut to the tip of her nose, and there was evidence that she had been knelt on.

There were also cuts to her hands which appeared to be defence injuries.

Dr Bolton told the court her injuries were "unsurvivable''.

The pathologist said Dhillon's defence statement claims were "broadly inconsistent'' with her findings.

The jury has heard how the pair had an intense relationship which Miss Ruggles, who was from Leicestershire, ended after she discovered evidence of his infidelity.

Dhillon visited her home despite her contacting police and gaining an official warning for him to keep away.

After he was arrested in Edinburgh, Mr Wright said Dhillon told police: "She was concerned about guys like him killing their girlfriends.''

The trial continues.

UPDATED- 12th April 2017 

A court's heard a woman feared police would only respond to her complaints about her ex-boyfriend, once he'd stabbed her.

24-year-old Alice Ruggles had first reported Lance Corporal Trimaan "Harry'' Dhillon to police 10 days before she was found dead in the bathroom of her flat in Gateshead last October.

He ignored an official warning to cease contact and sent his ex a parcel through the post.

She informed Northumbria Police, Newcastle Crown Court heard, but while the initial response to her first complaint was "brilliant'', she was unhappy with what happened following the second call.

In a statement, her sister Emma, a British Army officer, told the court she advised Ms Ruggles to contact the police, but she replied she already had.

The statement said the Sky employee told her sister: "They will respond once he has stabbed me.''

The court heard how Dhillon, who was born in India, started an intense relationship over the internet with Ms Ruggles while he was serving in Afghanistan.

She split with him after she found out he had been messaging other women on the dating site Tinder, jurors were told.

She said she was frightened when he travelled to Tyneside from his barracks near Edinburgh and repeatedly knocked on her door late at night, then tapped on her bedroom window and left flowers and chocolates on the sill.

The court has heard a phone message he then left her, repeatedly saying he did not want to kill her.

Ms Ruggles, who grew up in Leicestershire and stayed in Newcastle after studying at Northumbria University, made a police statement on October 2 in which she said he sounded "crazy'' on voicemails, and described him as obsessed.

She said: 
"I feel harassed, alarmed and distressed by this male. I want him to leave me alone. I want nothing more to do with him. I am terrified of his actions. I am being stalked and I want it to stop.''

She said it was affecting her concentration and work, adding: "I don't feel safe in my own home.''

The court has heard Dhillon was given an official police warning to stay away from his ex as a result.

A friend of the defendant and Ms Ruggles told the jury that when they were going out with each other, Dhillon made his girlfriend feel self-conscious.

Gen Crozier told the court: 
"He said some stuff about the size of her nose, hair on her forearms. He just made her feel really self-conscious - just not the person she really was.''

Ms Ruggles told people Dhillon had hacked into her Facebook account while they were together and Ms Crozier said that led her friend to immediately delete messages she received or sent.

Ms Crozier said Ms Ruggles told her that on her first date with Dhillon, he had claimed a Nando's waitress was "trying to hit on him''.

She later told Ms Crozier she thought he had been trying to put his date on edge.

Court also heard from Alice Ruggles' mother, who said she thought Dhillon was immature and insincere when she met him.

Susan Hills said, in a statement read out at Newcastle Crown Court, how Dhillon had seemed ``polite enough'' when he was introduced to the family last May.

The mother-of-four said: "He seemed to say all the things he thought we wanted to hear from him. He did come across as rather insincere.''

After Ms Ruggles broke up with him, Dhillon messaged her mother on Facebook, calling her "mum'' and begging for her help in reuniting them, the court heard.

Ms Hills said she found it "totally bizarre'', "inappropriate'' and "very creepy''.

Dhillon, a signaller with the 2 Scots, denies murder.

****

UPDATED- 11th April 2017

An office co-ordinator who complained to police about her ex-boyfriend harassing her five days before she was murdered told her flat-mate the call was ``palmed off'' and that it had been a "waste of time'', a court heard.

26-year-old Lance Corporal Trimaan "Harry'' Dhillon, is accused of murdering Alice Ruggles, leaving her with "horrendous" injuries to her neck in her flat in Gateshead last October.

Police found an Oriental tribal mask in her bedroom, after her housemate Maxine McGill came home to discover her horrifically injured, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

The jury has heard how Ms Ruggles contacted police after she split up with the 2 Scots soldier and he continued to contact her, including travelling to Tyneside from barracks outside Edinburgh to knock on her door, tap on her window and leave flowers and chocolates on the sill late at night.

On his drive back he insisted in a voicemail message he did not intend to kill her, jurors were told.

He received an official warning and was told by his commanding officer to stay away, the court heard.

But five days before she was allegedly murdered, Dhillon sent her a parcel containing a letter, photos and a notebook.

Ms Ruggles rang 101, Ms McGill said, but was unable to speak to the first officer who had originally dealt with her, and discussed it with an operator instead.

Ms McGill told the court:

"She said she felt as if it was palmed off. She was asked the question 'what do you want us to do about it?' She said 'I don't know, that's why I am phoning you. I was asked to get back in touch if I had any further contact'. She basically says it was just a waste of time.''

The court has heard she was asked if she wanted Dhillon arrested but she decided not to take that step.

Dhillon denies murder. The trial continues. 

****

First published 10th April 2017 

Alice Ruggles was found dead at her home by her flatmate Maxine McGill in October 2016. The court heard the door was locked and she initially couldn't get into their home on Rawling Road in Bensham.

She shouted for Alice to let her in, before climbing a wall into their back yard and climbing through an open window. Jurors were told Maxine found the 24-year-old lying dead on the bathroom floor with "horrendous injuries" to her throat.

The prosecuting lawyer told the court she bled to death.

The court was played the 999 call Maxine made, where she told the caller it "looks like she's been attacked - please help."

In that call, she named Alice's ex-boyfriend Lance Corporal Trimaan Dhillon, known as Harry, as the suspect and told the call handler Alice had reported having trouble with him, claiming she had called 101 in the past.

The court heard the couple first got together in October 2015 after meeting on Facebook, but their relationship quickly became intense.

The prosecution claim Dhillon would check her messages and question why she was trying to look nice when she went out.

He was also described as "jealous" - and having a "manipulative and obsessive" manner. The soldier is also accused of harassing and stalking Alice in the weeks and months before her death.

The prosecution claims Dhillon was unfaithful - and would use dating sites. Jurors were told this was partly caused Alice's "happy, bubbly demeanour" to change over time.

Dhillon, who served in the Royal Regiment of Scotland, denies murder.

The trial continues.

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