The retrial of a 56-year-old accused of murdering his "secret" lover before dumping her body at a remote beach and staging her death as a suicide has begun.
Jamie Lee Warn was last year convicted of killing Zsuzsanna Besenyei, whose body was found at Stinky Bay in May 2018, but successfully appealed.
Mr Warn, who also denies perverting the course of justice, is now being retried by a new jury of seven women and five men, with Royal Court Commissioner Sir William Bailhache sitting as judge.
Crown Advocate Simon Thomas was the first to address the jury as the retrial got underway yesterday morning.
Pictured: Royal Court Commissioner William Bailhache is sitting as judge in the trial.
Summing up the prosecution’s case, he claimed Mr Warn had “murdered, a young lady he was having a secret relationship with, kept her in the boot of her car for three days, disposed of her body on a remote bay… drove her car into the beach at St. Aubin’s Bay to make it look like she had committed suicide… and told a series of lies to the Police to cover up what he had done."
However, he noted that the prosecution couldn't prove, when, how or where Zsuzsanna had died,
The jury heard that Zsuzsanna and Mr Warn had met while working at Les Charrieres Hotel and had remained friends afterwards. At the time of her death, she was having a “secret relationship” with Mr Warn who was in a long-term relationship with another woman.
The Crown Advocate said Zsuzsanna didn’t have “a lot of spare money” and was expecting Mr Warn to pay her back the money he owed her when she went to his house on 10 May 2018.
“She wasn’t planning to meet up with anyone else… her clear purpose was to get money,” he said.
Pictured: The Crown Advocate said Zsuzsanna was expecting Mr Warn to pay her back the money he owed her when she went to his house on 10 May 2018.
Referring to texts in which Zsuzsanna had appeared to get annoyed when Mr Warn said he didn’t have the money he owed her, the Crown Advocate questioned: “How would she have reacted if the money wasn’t there?... Was there an argument between them?"
The Crown Advocate said Zsuzsanna had not been seen after visiting Mr Warn’s home, adding that later on that evening, Mr Warn had been seen at his local Checkers buying hand sanitiser. He said the prosecution believed he had killed Zsuzsanna between the time of her arrival at his flat and the time he visited the shop.
From the moment Mr Warn left the shop, the Crown Advocate suggested he engaged in an “elaborate cover-up” which included keeping Zsuzsanna’s phone, making internet searches about how best he could cover his tracks, and contacting the police to blame her ex-boyfriend, from whom she had separated in early May 2018 but who continued to send her emails and texts.
“He was trying quite literally to get away with murder,” he said.
The Crown Advocate said the prosecution’s case relied on circumstantial evidence, which includes information from cell sites, as well as CCTV footage from various points around St. Helier. Throughout his opening speech, he then used both to recreate the timeline of events between the 10 and 16 May.
Pictured: The prosecution’s case against Mr Warn relies on circumstantial evidence, which includes information from cell sites, as well as CCTV footage.
The jury heard that information from local cell sites suggested Zsuzsanna’s phone connected with the mast near Mr Warn’s flat repeatedly between 10 and 14 May.
The Crown Advocate suggested Mr Warn had used the phone to give the impression she was still alive.
Meanwhile, data from Mr Warn’s phone showed he had searched tide times as well as “poo spray for women”, which the Crown Advocate described as “an extraordinary search term”.
The Crown Advocate also said that CCTV footage from First Tower Car Park showed Mr Warn driving and parking Zsuzsanna’s car, putting up pay cards on two occasions and then driving away on the Sunday, the night the prosecution said Mr Warn disposed of her body at Stinky Bay.
The trial against Mr Warn is expected to last three weeks. It continues today.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.