Panic ‘led murder accused to show body on webcam’

AN Estonian defendant told a jury in Leeds yesterday he was in such a panic after killing his girlfriend that he showed her body to a friend via a webcam because he did not know what to do.

Jevgenni Matjuhha said earlier in evidence he had lost control after Nadija Onzule told him she’d had an abortion and said the child was not his. The next thing he knew, he was sitting on a sofa and when he walked into their bedroom he found her strangled.

He told Leeds Crown Court when he realised what he had done “I thought I need to die.” He called his friend using Skype and told him what had happened.

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Matjuhha said his friend did not believe him, and told the jury that ever since childhood whatever he had told his friend, he would reply: “Prove it, prove it”.

“I don’t know why, I switched the web camera on and I showed him Nadija’s body,” he added. “I was in a hysterical state, I was crying. I asked him what he thought I needed to do. All he told me was ‘Don’t call me again’ and he hung up.”

The 23-year-old, who denies the murder of Ms Onzule, 36, at the home they shared in Oddfellows Street, Mirfield, Dewsbury, but admits her manslaughter, told the jury: “At that moment I think the idea of euthanasia came to my mind.”

He said he knew euthanasia was legal in Holland and decided to go there. He thought of it, he added, because under his religious beliefs suicide was not approved. “It is the biggest sin you can commit, euthanasia is a way out, you don’t kill yourself, other people do it for you.”

Matjuhha claimed he withdraw cash from his girlfriend’s accounts because he did not know if he would need to pay for euthanasia and booked a flight to Amsterdam.

He wiped blood from his girlfriend’s face and laid her on the bed, crossing her arms and covering her as they did in the Russian religion.

That evening he drank vodka and lied to her workmates about why she would not be in work the next day.

“I needed time to commit this euthanasia,” he said. “I knew it would be hard, it wouldn’t be easy and simple so I had to resort to lies to be able to do it.”

Asked by his counsel Tahir Khan QC about his internet activity that night, which included search words “how much prostitutes in Amsterdam” and “where are prostitutes in Amsterdam”, he said he thought that had come from clicking “pop up boxes” when he was drunk and looking at information on Amsterdam.

Majuhha said he had only dealt with prostitutes once, a long time ago and he said the jury should not form an opinion he was a man “chasing prostitutes.”

Asked why he had not phoned an ambulance for his girlfriend that night, he said he could find no pulse so could see no point.

He told police that once in Amsterdam he was told euthanasia was for people who could prove they were ill which he was not.

He was eventually arrested and brought back from Estonia.

The trial continues.