Sameena Imam murder trial: Murder accused ‘thought lover was sulking in days after her disappearance’
PUBLISHED: 13:29 14 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:29 14 September 2015
A cash-and-carry boss accused of murdering his lover has claimed he thought she was “sulking somewhere” in the days after her disappearance, a court heard.
Roger Cooper is alleged to have murdered former Loxford High School pupil Sameena Imam, his store’s marketing manager, with the help of his brother within hours of finishing work on Christmas Eve.
Giving evidence in the fourth week of a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the 41-year-old told jurors he had angered Ms Imam by telling her he had arranged for her to be “watched” at a Premier Inn.
The Costco warehouse manager and his brother David, 38, both deny murdering Ms Imam in Leicester, where her body was found buried on an allotment.
The trial has heard that Roger Cooper met Ms Imam in a side street shortly after they finished work at Coventry’s Costco branch at about 4pm on December 24.
From there, according to Cooper’s account, he drove his 34-year-old colleague to his brother’s home in Hughenden Drive, Leicester.
Answering questions from defence barrister Mukhtar Hussain, the former shelf-stacker said Ms Imam was in a “great mood” when she arrived at his brother’s house.
He told jurors: “Towards the end of our time there I thought it was a good idea to say about how I had had the Premier Inn (where Sameena had stayed) watched on December 11, thinking she would see the funny side.
“When I said that, her mood changed. She looked irritated, she clearly didn’t want to be there any more.”
During the journey back towards Coventry in his car, Roger Cooper said that Ms Imam sat in a rear seat.
“She was shouting at me,” the alleged killer told his trial. “She felt I had stepped over the line and had betrayed her trust.
“She didn’t want to be near me but she needed me to get her back. It alternated between anger, shouting and swearing. She was hysterical at one point.”
The Costco boss, who has worked for the firm for more than 20 years, said he last saw Ms Imam, who lived in Cardiff, when he dropped her off near a Tesco store close to the end of the M69.
“I know the last thing I said was ‘I’m sorry’.”
During his evidence, Cooper, of Tilehurst Drive, Coventry, admitted that he told police after Ms Imam’s disappearance that he had last seen her at Costco in Coventry.
Asked by Mr Hussain to explain why he did not inform officers about the trip to Leicester, Cooper said: “Because I still believed she was sulking somewhere.
“I wasn’t about to harm (his long term partner) about something that would have blown over.”
Seeking to explain why he had not mentioned Ms Imam’s journey to Leicester to detectives, Cooper added: “I had had no involvement with the police anywhere near that level before.
“It was obvious to me on the 1st of January that they had made their mind up.”
The trial resumes today.
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