A soldier accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s flat and cutting her throat from ear to ear has admitted he was obsessive but denied stalking her.
Lance Corporal Trimaan “Harry” Dhillon denies murdering Alice Ruggles and leaving her to bleed to death in the bathroom of her Gateshead flat last October.
The Edinburgh-based signaller with the 2 Scots told Newcastle Crown Court he loved the 24-year-old, telling the jury they shared a sense of humour, that she made him feel special and he liked how she looked.
From the witness box, Dhillon appeared upset when he said: “We used to share the craziest sense of humour together and I knew everything about her – all her friends, what she liked to eat, what she liked to drink, what make up brand she loved, what clothes she loved.
“That’s not because I stalked her, that’s because I used to care and listen every time.”
Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, listed the numerous attempts Dhillon made to contact his ex-girlfriend in the weeks before she died, which included making three 240-mile round trips from his barracks to Tyneside “to hang around her house at night”.
Dhillon, under cross-examination, admitted it was “not a nice thing to do”.
Mr Wright said: “Hanging around in the dark, scaring the women you tell the jury you loved?”
Dhillon said: “I have no justification.” He agreed with Mr Wright that it was obsessive behaviour.
Later, Mr Wright asked the defendant how he asked a woman he knew from Tinder whether he was better looking than a man he heard Miss Ruggles was thinking of dating.
Dhillon replied: “It’s not the best behaviour, I will accept.”
Mr Wright asked: “Is it the sort of thing a stalker might do, Mr Dhillon?”
The 26-year-old defendant replied: “I never at any point considered myself to be stalking her.”
Mr Wright said: “You plagued the last few weeks of this poor girl’s life and made it miserable.”
Dhillon replied: “I’m not going to say my actions were right.
“The intention was not there.”
The jury has heard Dhillon claims Miss Ruggles died when she lunged at him with a carving knife and the weapon ended up in her neck when he blocked her.
The prosecution claims she suffered six or more slices to the neck which went through to her spine.
The trial continues.
Dhillon agreed with Mr Wright’s suggestion that his case was that Miss Ruggles’ death was a “terrible accident”.
He also agreed with the prosecution’s suggestion that he believed the trial was a “terrible misunderstanding”.
Mr Wright said: “I’m going to be suggesting to this jury that you are a liar, that you tell lies whenever it suits you and you tell them to help yourself.”
Dhillon replied: “Yes, I have lied in the past, yes.”
Mr Wright said: “I’m going to suggest that you set out to manipulate and control Alice during your relationship.”
The accused replied: “I don’t accept that.”
Mr Wright said: “I’m going to suggest you were utterly and dangerously obsessed with Alice – do you accept that?”
Dhillon said: “No, I don’t.”
Mr Wright said: “I’m going to suggest when you realised she did not want to be with you and she found a far better man who was going to make her happy, you reached boiling point. Do you accept that?”
Dhillon said: “No, I don’t.”
Mr Wright said: “I’m going to suggest your version of events is a constructed, lying account because you are trying to get away with the fact you murdered her. Do you accept that?”
Dhillon replied: “No, I don’t.”
The exchange ended with Mr Wright asking: “I’m going to suggest you had a knife and you killed her in a jealous temper. Do you accept that?”
Again, Dhillon replied: “No, I don’t.”