A man has been found guilty of strangling and stabbing a colleague weeks after they started a relationship.
Leicester Crown Court heard how Ross McCullum, 30, and Megan Newborough, 23, had been seeing each other for about a month when he strangled her.
He then slit her throat 14 times, later telling police he did this “to make sure Megan was dead”.
Lab worker McCullum then dumped Mrs Newborough’s body close to a Leicestershire country lane before attempting to cover his tracks by leaving a voicemail on her phone telling her he loved her.
The pair had met while working for a brick factory.
On the evening of August 6 last year, Mrs. Newborough left her home in Nuneaton and told her family that she would meet McCullum to go for a walk.
She drove to the house McCullum shared with his parents in Coalville. Both his parents were gone.
Within 40 minutes of arriving at his home, he killed her.
The court heard that McCullum then “immediately embarked on a series of deliberate actions carefully calculated and executed to cover up Megan’s murder and his role in it.”
That included sending text messages to her phone, including one telling her she was amazing. According to the court, it was sent the moment he placed her lifeless body in the passenger seat of her own car.
He drove off, tossing her phone into the undergrowth before dumping her body over a stone wall in an overgrown patch of countryside near the village of Woodhouse Eaves.
McCullum then drove to Loughborough where he was caught on CCTV changing his clothes.
He took a taxi home and returned shortly before his parents returned.
At around 11:30 pm, he called Mrs Newborough’s phone and left a voice message telling her he loved her.
He had previously admitted manslaughter but denied it was murder, claiming he acted out of “blind rage” after remembering childhood sexual abuse, triggering a moment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
‘It was just blind rage’
McCullum gave evidence at the trial and said he and Ms Newborough began engaging in sexual activity, when he cursed at her for “being a little uncomfortable”.
Claiming that Ms Newborough had playfully given him “a little tap” on the side of his leg, McCullum told the jury: “She pulled me closer and said ‘come here’.
“At that moment I exploded…just rage. I pushed her forward with all my strength. I’ve never felt like this before. It was like a volcano.”
McCillum added: “I remember feeling like I couldn’t get out – she trapped me.
“It was just blind rage.”
The court heard McCullum search the Internet for pornography and look up details of serial killers in the hours after she disposed of Ms Newborough’s body.
Police discovered he conducted online searches linked to serial killer Levi Bellfield, Soham killer Ian Huntley and Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe.
When asked why he had done the searches and sent messages to Ms Newborough’s phone despite knowing she was dead, McCullum said: “I was delusional at the time. It was almost a fantasy world.
“I just cringe when I remember and I hate what I did.”
“Ross enjoyed killing Megan – it turned him on”
Detective Inspector Jenni Heggs of Leicestershire Police said: “I honestly believe Ross enjoyed killing Megan after investigating this from the start.
“I really think it turned him on and I do believe he had the potential to kill again.
“His actions afterwards show that they certainly showed no sign of remorse. And even at the trial, in terms of Megan’s murder, he really didn’t show any remorse.
“He seems to have shown remorse at the cover-up and he seems to have shown remorse when he was caught, but in terms of the actual murder itself there really hasn’t been any remorse, and I honestly believe he’s a dangerous person and had it potential to kill again.”