‘She’s having an affair’: Former soldier called mother and confessed to killing Leanne McNuff, Manchester court hears

By Sophia Rahman

A former soldier, accusing of murdering a Droylsden mum, told his mother that she had aborted his baby and had an affair, hours before stabbing her, a court heard.

Ian Lowe, 25, is a former soldier, and is accused of murdering his on-off partner Leanne McNuff, 24, on March 11.

His mother, who was giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court, said that the defendant had visited her that evening and confessed to killing Leanne.

Lorraine Lowe, being questioned by Neil Flewitt QC, said: “He said ‘you know what she’s done don’t you? She’s aborted the baby and she’s having an affair’.”

She also described how the defendant told her that he had been discharged from the army after seeing the doctor and being prescribed sleeping tablets.

Ms Lowe struggled to compose herself when describing how her son came to her house on March 11 and confessed to the killing.

She said: “He said he was at peace with himself. He had no marks on him, that’s why I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“He was blank, there was no emotion, there was nothing there from him.” 

Mr Flewitt asked Ms Lowe if she could confirm her knowledge of her son’s suicide attempt towards the end of 2008, to which she tearfully replied ‘yes’.

Ms Lowe was then asked about when the defendant assaulted her in April 2011, after being telephoned and informed by Ian’s sergeant that he had gone AWOL and finding him at Leanne’s house.

She said: “I discovered that Ian and Leanne had got back together once again, and I told him I wasn’t happy about it because the relationship was always on and off.”

“Ian said his life is now with Leanne,” she added.

Upon returning to her house, she told the court she packed his personal things up and took her daughter to Leanne’s house to deliver them to him.

It was then he became aggravated and threw his mother by the wrists into the side of her car, the jury heard.

Ms Lowe added: “Most probably it was my fault because I regret doing what I did.”

At the time, Lowe was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to assault.

Ms Lowe confirmed that Leanne and her son met on New Year’s Eve 2006 and Leanne fell pregnant with their son in March.

Ms Lowe said: “They seemed happy at first, but as the pregnancy progressed, cracks started to show. Leanne wanted him at the birth but he couldn’t be there because he was in Iraq. She thought it was more of a holiday, but it was his job.”

When asked if Ms Lowe knew how often her son and Leanne argued, she replied: “Constantly. Leanne would phone us to come and sort Ian out. It was always 50/50.”

She added: “They argued because they had no money. I’ve seen them throw things at each other, but it was more verbal, they knew how to wind each together up.”

Investigative Support Officer Stewart Hines from Greater Manchester Police confirmed that CCTV footage taken from outside a house on the corner of Kershaw Street in Droylsden, nearby to Leanne’s house on Mellor Street, captured audio evidence of what may be sounds from the house on the evening of the incident.
Over the two minutes of relevant CCTV footage, which due to being at night could not capture much visual evidence, there were two consecutive loud bangs, which Officer Hines said are consistent with the sound of a locked door being kicked in.
He said: “They are followed very quickly by a short scream, then a loud shout could be heard but we are unable to hear what was said.

“Thirty-one seconds after the scream, I believe I could hear a small child crying, which starts quiet and gets louder. The name Ryan is then thought to have been screamed by a female voice.”

Lowe denies murder but admits to manslaughter.

The trial continues.

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