India Chipchase murder: Victim appeared 'very drunk' before vanishing

India Chipchase with boyfriend Evaan Reihana, son of former All Black Bruce Reihana. Photo / Facebook
India Chipchase with boyfriend Evaan Reihana, son of former All Black Bruce Reihana. Photo / Facebook

A doctor's daughter downed six Jagerbombs in ten minutes just hours before she was allegedly raped and throttled to death by a bookkeeper, a court has heard.

India Chipchase, 20, died in January after she was "accosted" by Edward Tenniswood, 52, outside NB's bar in Northampton.

At the time of her death, Ms Chipchase was dating New Zealander and professional rugby player Evaan Reihana.

Evaan is the son of former All Black Bruce Reihana, who later joined Northampton Saints in 2002.


Today, her friend Alice Lewis told the court that she and Miss Chipchase - who were on a night out with friends - had drunk a series of Jagerbombs within minutes of entering the premises.

She broke down in tears as she described how Miss Chipchase, a barmaid, appeared "very drunk" and had started "walking wonky" before vanishing from the bar.

Her friends then searched "everywhere" for her, but assumed she had gone home because she was "steaming".

The court heard how, while she was outside, Miss Chipchase was refused permission to re-enter the premises and put in a taxi by the concerned doorman.

For an unknown reason, she later got out of the vehicle and was allegedly approached by Tenniswood, who is accused of coaxing her to his flat half-a-mile away.

The former private schoolgirl was found dead at the property the following day.

In evidence today, Ms Lewis told Birmingham Crown Court that Miss Chipchase appeared "quite drunk... a lot more than me" and had dropped her bag at the bar, accidentally throwing the contents "everywhere".

But Miss Chipchase apparently insisted she was "fine" and continued to have "banter" with her friends.

Ms Lewis told the court: "At the bar she dropped [her handbag] and everything fell out of it. Harry [a friend] was buying drinks. A drink was bought for India, but she didn't get it.

"I looked up and she was gone."

Other friends who were with the two young women told the jury how they searched everywhere for Miss Chipchase.

Harry Moylan added that her sudden disappearance was "out of character".

"When I turned around, India wasn't there," he said in a statement.

"After about 10 or 15 minutes, Alice and I decided to look for her. It is out of character for her to leave without saying anything.

"We looked everywhere for her but couldn't find her. We thought she'd either gone home, or met up with other friends."

The court was told that, before vanishing, Miss Chipchase had tried to phone her friend Grant and was upset that he had not answered.

She also spoke to Ms Lewis about being "unhappy" while they were in the bar's smoking area, the court was told.

Ms Lewis said: "She tried to call Grant more than once. She was trying to text him.

"She just told me that they weren't speaking any more and she was upset about it.

"She had about a 30 second outburst. She was crying, I can't remember what she was crying about. Just crying about everything.

"About what she was going through, something I didn't know about. It lasted about 30 seconds and then she just changed the subject."

She said Miss Chipchase also showed her scratches and cuts to her arms.

India Chipchase, downed six jagerbombs in just ten minutes before she was "accosted" by the accused, the court has heard. Photo / Supplied
India Chipchase, downed six jagerbombs in just ten minutes before she was "accosted" by the accused, the court has heard. Photo / Supplied

Another witness also gave evidence that he saw a man and woman near Tenniswood's home that night when he pulled over in his car for a cigarette.

Patrick Francis said the man was seen "guiding" the woman cross the road by her arm into a nearby house.

"She seemed as if she was drunk because she was holding on to the railing, and the guy with her was by her side," he told the court.

"His right arm was round her side. I thought it was strange that he heard me pull up and I said 'alright' and he didn't even turn round.

"I saw they went into a house a way down the street. He unlocked the door and let her in - she went in first and he went in after her."

Two days later, Mr Francis told the court that he saw a news appeal for information about Ms Chipchase and what he had witnessed all clicked into place.

During the opening of the trial yesterday, the jury was told how Miss Chipchase was in a "pickled state" when Tenniswood approached her outside the bar.

The jury has already seen CCTV showing Ms Chipchase outside the club at about 1am, leaning against the entryway, and appearing to check her phone.

She is then approached by a man - whom the prosecution allege is Tenniswood - who begins talking to her.

He then allegedly "led, steered or escorted" her to another taxi, which took them to his home.

There, he is accused of raping Miss Chipchase before strangling her to death. Prosecutor Christopher Donnellan said Miss Chipchase "appears to have put up a struggle" because Tenniswood's blood was found under one of her fingernails.

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

Mr Donnellan also told the court that Miss Chipchase's body was found "laid out" on a mattress, covered up by a duvet.

Tenniswood had allegedly "set about tidying up" to cover his tracks, the court was told.

The jury has already been told by the prosecution that bookkeeper Tenniswood is to claim the victim consented to sex and that her death was "an accident".

Ms Chipchase had been studying a diploma in health and social care, and lived with her mother, Suzanne, in upmarket Wootton, Northampton.

Her father, Jeremy, has lived in Adelaide for 10 years where he works as a senior obstetrician and gynaecologist at Lyell McEwin Hospital.

Miss Chipchase had been a pupil at Pitsford School, the county's leading small independent school which is situated near Pitsford Reservoir, outside Northampton.

Tenniswood denies rape and murder and the case continues.

- Daily Mail

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