Woman raped and murdered two weeks before baby due (UK)

Posted on January 18, 2012


Court hears how Carl Whant also killed unborn baby in brutal knife attack on 19-year-old Nikitta Grender

 Wednesday 18 January 2012 18.44 GMT

Nikitta Grender's parents at court for the trial of Carl Whant, accused of murdering their daughter

The parents of Nikitta Grender, Paul Brunnock and Marcia Grender, at court for the trial of Carl Whant, who is accused of murdering their pregnant daughter. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA

A pregnant woman was raped, murdered and her unborn daughter killed in a brutal knife attack in her flat, a jury has heard.

Nikitta Grender, who was due to give birth in two weeks, was sexually assaulted before being stabbed in the neck and stomach by Carl Whant, the court was told. The knife penetrated the body of her child, whom she had already named Kelsey-May.

Newport crown court in south Wales heard that Whant, 27, a nightclub bouncer, then set fire to the bed Grender was lying on in an attempt to cover up his crime.

Whant, who took notes as the prosecution outlined its case, denies rape, murder, child destruction and arson.

Gregg Taylor, prosecuting, said Grender, 19, and her boyfriend Ryan Mayes, 18, had been looking forward to the birth of their child. They had bought a cot and pram and were well-prepared.

Taylor said on the evening of Grender’s death in February last year Mayes and Whant, who are second cousins, had been out together visiting pubs, clubs and a house party.

The court was told that during their night out the pair took cocaine and drank alcohol. At about 5am, Whant said he was going to his grandmother’s house “just around the corner” to get cigarettes. Whant allegedly told Mayes to stay put.

He returned an hour later, after 6am, without cigarettes. The prosecution says that during this hour he murdered Grender.

Firefighters were called to the flat at about 7.50am. A postmortem examination showed no signs of smoke inhalation, indicating that Grender had been murdered before the fire was started.

Taylor said the heat damage to Grender’s body had been so severe the pathologist initially had not spotted the two stab wounds.

The prosecutor said the following day Whant was seen with scratch-like marks on his arm, and told his girlfriend they had come from a girl who had tried to stop him having a fight with another man.

“These marks are a result of Nikitta trying to fend off Whant,” Taylor said.He said Mason had looked up to Whant. “Whant told police that Ryan believed he was the closest thing to a father he had and they would often go out together.”

The prosecutor told the jury: “Nikitta was alone at home in the flat in the early hours where she should have been safe for the rest of the night. Someone entered that flat, someone raped her, someone murdered her and in the process destroyed her unborn child. She was stabbed right through the neck, cutting her carotid artery. She was also stabbed in her stomach and the knife penetrated the unborn baby.”

The court heard that the bed Grender was found lying on had been deliberately set on fire.

Taylor said: “This was an attempt to cover up these crimes, making it appear Nikitta Grender had died in a tragic house fire. The man who did that was Carl Whant.”

Forensic tests showed that Whant, of Bettws, Newport, had sex with Grender, the jury heard.

Taylor said Grender had disliked Whant and ruled out the possibility that she had consented to sex with him. “It was common knowledge that Nikitta disliked Carl Whant – he was a self-confessed cocaine user and she thought he was a bad influence on Ryan.”

Firefighters were called to the teenage couple’s flat in Broadmead Park, Newport, after a 999 call from a neighbour.

Taylor said: “The fire was started deliberately, there is no doubt about that. It was to mask the murder.”

The court heard that Grender was 5ft 3in (1.6 metres) tall and weighed just 49kg (7st 10lb), even though she was heavily pregnant.

The hearing continues.