NEWS23 September 2008

Burglar claims Research Now finance manager was alive when he left

Former employee accused of Cathy Marlow murder speaks at trial

UK— A burglar admitted binding up Research Now finance manager Cathy Marlow after she saw him entering the office, but denied strangling her with her own scarf, a court heard yesterday.

The company’s former web production manager Matthew Fagan, 33, told the Old Bailey he broke into the office on 13 January 2007 to steal computers when Marlow disturbed him and his fellow thieves.

Marlow, who had gone to the office to catch up on her work, recognised Fagan, who had been sacked for incompetence over six months earlier.

28-year-old New Zealander Marlow yelled at the thieves “to get the hell out” before they tried to shut her up, it was claimed.

Struggling to drag her away from the office entrance, she hit Fagan in the face with her handbag leaving him with a bloodied nose, the court heard.

After tying her up in a corridor by a shower cubicle he went to wash the blood from his face before returning to apologise.

Fagan said Marlow was by then restrained and “glaring” at him angrily and he told her he was “sorry about everything that happened” and that he was “sure if she stays there she would be alright”.

The American claimed she was “alive and well” when he left the office.

Marlow was found in a shower cubicle at the firm’s headquarters in Stockwell, south London, eight hours after she was last heard from.

Fagan told the court he hatched the plan to break in to the offices while in financial “dire straits”.

While working cash-in-hand for a removal company, he claimed his new colleagues told him they earned “extra pay” stealing computer equipment from offices.

Telling them he still had a set of keys to the Research Now offices, they agreed to break in and on the Saturday afternoon, posing as removal men, he and accomplice ‘John’ got inside the entrance lobby.

But as he searched in a room off the entrance lobby for swipe cards to get into offices, he heard a commotion. He told the jury: “The next thing I heard was conversation coming through the door getting louder, so I went out to look.

“I saw the back of someone speaking to John and the person turned around and it was Catherine Marlow and she recognised me.

“She basically asked me what I was doing and I should not be here. She shouted ‘get the hell out’ – that I should leave. It was really loud and then John went for her. He tried to grab her by her mouth, to cover her mouth.

“I thought I would help him and get her out of the reception area. We struggled a bit, I don’t remember much. I knew she hit me in the face with her purse [handbag]”.

He claimed they used her scarf to tie up her ankles and a towel to bind her hands and arms before he went to clean up the blood from his face.

He said: “I then went into the hallway where Catherine was sitting. Basically to say I was sorry about everything that happened but I am sure if she stayed there she would be alright.

“She was really angry. She was just sitting there and staring and glaring at me.”

He then told the court that he left the building and went to meet up with the boss of the removal company in New Cross, south east London.

He claimed that after their meeting he was mugged and that his accomplices’ phone numbers were stolen, but that he reported the crime to police.

Earlier the court heard Fagan’s DNA was found under Marlow’s fingernails and his blood found at the murder scene.

Unemployed Fagan of Gaywood Street, Elephant And Castle, denies murder but admits burglary in which he stole six Dell laptop computers.

The case continues.

Author: National News

Related links:

Research Now finance manager ‘strangled by ex-colleague’