Accused murderer 'cuddled up' to dead body, went for kebab afterwards

The man accused of raping and murdering an Adelaide doctor's daughter claims she asked him to put his hands around her neck during "organic" sex, a courtroom has heard.

52-year-old Edward Tenniswood is facing a murder trial for the death of India Chipchase, and has told a court that he also slept beside her dead body after throttling her to death.

Tenniswood claims he then "blacked out" with fatigue and "cuddled up" to Miss Chipchase believing she was just asleep.

He claims it was not until he woke up a few hours later that he noticed she wasn't breathing and feared she was dead, before then heading out to get a kebab.

Tenniswood told the court: "I was so fatigued, I effectively blacked out. I rolled over and embraced her. I cuddled up to her and just went to sleep.

"When we woke up - sorry, when I woke up - it was early evening. I just assumed she was in a deep sleep. I just assumed she was out of it.

"I lit a cigarette, as I naturally do. Again, to my shame, the first thing I did was to pour myself a drink of wine."

“Panic set in”, claimed Tenniswood, and he had to leave the apartment to “get some air, get food, and calm down”. He then said he went out to get some food.

"I went to get a kebab, get something to eat.

"What had been a glorious evening suddenly turned into this awful situation.

India Chipchase was allegedly raped and strangled to death.
India Chipchase was allegedly raped and strangled to death.

"It was just utter panic, just confusion and I was groping for some small answer for what it could be [what had happened to India]."

Miss Chipchase had been out drinking with friends the UK town of Northampton, when she became separated from the group.

The court heard she was refused entry into a cocktail bar in the early hours of the morning.

A doorman, who feared for her welfare, claimed he had already put her in a taxi in an attempt to get her home safe.

Miss Chipchase then left the vehicle before she was allegedly approached by Mr Tenniswood, who the Crown say "steered or escorted" her into another taxi.

India Chipchase and her father Jeremy, an Adelaide doctor. Photo: Facebook
India Chipchase and her father Jeremy, an Adelaide doctor. Photo: Facebook

One day later, the private school girl was found dead Tenniswood’s apartment.

Police broke down the door to discover Miss Chipchase wrapped in a sheet.

It was found that she had died from pressure to the neck.

In court, Mr Tenniswood, a 52-year-old bookkeeper, told the court he put his hands around India Chipchase's neck "at her direction".

Demonstrating to the courtroom, he described the moment allegedly placed his hands on Miss Chipchase's neck during the "loving sex".

Tenniswood explained how he applied pressure to her neck for up to 10 seconds, where “her body spasmed and she let out this extraordinary exhale”.

He said he did not check Miss Chipchase's pulse because he did not want to panic.

Instead, he assumed she was in a diabetic coma, or had a "stroke or brain injury".

He told the court he was convinced she would regain consciousness while "he was out".

Earlier, the prosecution claimed Tenniswood checked into the Ibis hotel at about 9.30pm the night of the alleged murder.

It’s claimed Tenniswood attempted to cover his tracks.

Friends of Miss Chipchase last saw her in Northampton on the Saturday morning before she died. Photo: Facebook
Friends of Miss Chipchase last saw her in Northampton on the Saturday morning before she died. Photo: Facebook

“He covered her in a sheet and left her," the prosecutor claimed.

"Her death was no dreadful accident, because if it had been he would have called for an ambulance, he would have started CPR, asked for help."

“However, what he did was removed her belongings and placed them round the house. There were lots of other women's items generally distributed around the house.

“He was fully aware of what he was doing and put on a pair of plastic, vinyl gloves – they were later found in a bag of rubbish. Her blood was on the outside and his DNA was on the inside.”

Tenniswood said he re-clothed Miss Chipchase to be "respectful".

“My optimism is unbelievable. I’m just one of the world’s greatest optimists," said Tenniswood. “That allowed me to continually believe India wasn’t dead."

Tenniswood was found with a scratch mark to his neck, and marks on his arms and legs when he was arrested.

The court heard Miss Chipchase suffered blunt force trauma to her head and face and had a graze on her ear.

During the trial, Tenniswood denied killing the barmaid instead describing himself as “quite chivalrous”.

He claimed they had consensual sex after she agreed to come back to his place.

Chipchase was dating NZ Rugby Player Evaan Reihana.
Chipchase was dating NZ Rugby Player Evaan Reihana.

Miss Chipchase was living in the UK with her mother Suzanne, studying a diploma in health and social care.

Her father, gynaecologist and obstetrician Jeremy Chipchase, lives in Adelaide.

She was dating professional New Zealand rugby player Evaan Reihana, who plays for Bordeaux Begles in France.

After the passing of his girlfriend, Reihana took to Instagram to pay his condolences.

"I can't believe you have left us India. I will be playing for you for as long as I know," he wrote.

The trial continues.

News break – July 28

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