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Sameena Imam murder trial: Murder accused denies false statements were ‘deliberately constructed’

PUBLISHED: 12:24 15 September 2015 | UPDATED: 12:24 15 September 2015

Sameena Imam Photo credit: West Midlands Police

Sameena Imam Photo credit: West Midlands Police

Archant

A cash-and-carry boss accused of murdering his lover has denied that false statements he made to police were part of a “deliberately constructed” web of lies.

During a third day in the witness box, Roger Cooper also rejected claims that his initial account of the disappearance of former Loxford High School pupil Sameena Imam, his store’s marketing manager, was designed to protect him and his brother from suspicion.

Costco store manager Cooper, 41, and his 38-year-old brother David deny murdering Ms Imam using chloroform on Christmas Eve.

Roger Cooper has told Birmingham Crown Court that he dropped Ms Imam off at a Tesco store in Coventry after driving the 34-year-old to his brother’s home in Leicester.

But jurors have heard that the shop manager initially told police he last saw his missing colleague at Costco’s Coventry branch at about 4pm on Christmas Eve.

In the fifth week of his trial, Roger Cooper was asked by prosecutor Timothy Spencer QC why he told police his last contact with Sameena was giving her a pre-Christmas hug at Costco.

“At the time, being it was still Coventry, it wouldn’t have made much difference,” Roger Cooper told the court.

“I didn’t believe it would be that important. She was back in Coventry - I didn’t know it would be the last time she was seen.”

Admitting that he told a lie to an officer four minutes into a significant witness interview on January 1, he added: “At the point where he said I wasn’t in trouble, I figured this was going to be one of those conversations. I lied.”

Denying that his previous statements in interview had been a “sham” to protect himself and his brother, he added: “I went to try and help.

“The last time I saw Sameena was in Coventry. That was true. I didn’t think that (the exact location) would be a relevant point.”

Roger Cooper was also questioned over comments he made to detectives, asking them why no one had found Ms Imam’s BMW, which he knew had been parked in Standard Avenue, near Coventry’s Costco.

“At that point (in the interview) I had been in that room for a number of hours and I had no indication that there was any effort going into looking for her,” he said.

Mr Spencer said the “intelligent” Costco manager’s initial account to police of visiting his brother’s home in Hughenden Drive, Leicester, was a “deliberately constructed web of lies” aimed at protecting both siblings.

Roger Coooper, of Tilehurst Drive, Coventry, answered: “No sir, it’s just the one omission but it has different areas that it has touched on.”

During questions from his brother’s counsel, Roger Cooper further denied that he had administered chloroform to Ms Imam, who lived in Cardiff.

He also denied being responsible for putting an envelope through David Cooper’s door on Christmas Day with a set of car keys and a request for Ms Imam’s car to be disposed of.

Ms Imam’s body, part of which had been wrapped in clingfilm, was found buried on an allotment in Leicester on January 16.

Jurors have been told that the Costco manager was having a second affair with another colleague, and saw his long-term partner at weekends.

Agreeing with Mr Spencer that “juggling” three relationships over several months had been akin to spinning plates, the former Asda employee told jurors: “It was a challenge but I wouldn’t say it was a strain.”

Asked how he thought managing three relationships would eventually end, Roger Cooper told the court: “It never came up in my head.”

Defence evidence continues today.


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