Man accused of killing Lauren Masters was ‘controlling and violent’

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The man accused of murdering a young mum-of-two at her Bexhill home had become ‘controlling’ in the months leading up to her death, a court has heard.

Paul Withers in currently on trial charged with the murder of 20-year-old Lauren Masters at her flat in Sutherland Avenue on August 28, 2015.

Giving evidence at Hove Trial Centre today (Tuesday, July 19), Lauren’s mother Michelle Masters said Paul and Lauren had met when Lauren was 16 and at first, it seemed they had a normal, happy relationship.

However, she told the court Mr Withers became ‘controlling’ shortly after the birth of the couple’s second child on June 15, 2014.

Mrs Masters said Mr Withers would constantly phone and text his girlfriend, on one occasion attempting contact 80 times during a six-hour period.

Also giving evidence this morning, Lauren’s older sister told the court Mr Withers had become ‘more violent’ towards his girlfriend, although this was something she had only been told by her sister and had never witnessed for herself.

The jury was later shown a series of messages Lauren had posted on a Facebook group for expectant mothers. One post, on June 14, 2015, said: “We just started arguing. He pushed me and I fell over the sofa. He shouted in my face and wouldn’t let me get up. I’ve got the worst bruises I’ve ever seen on my leg. So upset this has happened.”

Lauren’s family told the court the couple split up at the beginning of August 2015.

Mr Withers denies the charges.

The trial continues.

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