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Murder trial hears from woman's GP

PUBLISHED: 11:44 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 07:42 01 August 2010

A MOTHER-of-three allegedly murdered by her fiancé while they were visiting Suffolk was being treated for depression in the months before her death, a court heard.

A MOTHER-of-three allegedly murdered by her fiancé while they were visiting Suffolk was being treated for depression in the months before her death, a court heard.

But 35-year-old Deborah Townsend's GP, Ajith Azad, said that she had never indicated to him that she was having suicidal thoughts.

Dr Azad was giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court on the second day of the retrial of 36-year-old Christopher Caunter, of Hullbridge, Essex, who has denied murdering Ms Townsend on July 15, 2005.

Also before the court are Caunter's brother, Robert Caunter, 39, of Barking, and Joseph Brown, 39, of Romford, who have denied assisting Christopher Caunter after Ms Townsend's death.

It has been alleged that Christopher Caunter drove his Land Rover Discovery at Ms Townsend on the A146 at Beccles during a row and then reversed the vehicle over her head, causing horrific injuries which would have killed her instantly.

Caunter had then allegedly picked his fiancée's body up from the roadside and driven her to Newlands Park at Roxwell, near Chelmsford, where he abandoned the Discovery with Ms Townsend's body in the boot. He had then fled to Thailand where he remained until he was extradited back to the UK in 2007.

Caunter has claimed that Ms Townsend had jumped out of the car during an argument.

Dr Azad told the court that Ms Townsend had been one of his patients since 1998 and described her as “a very cheerful, talkative, happy-go-lucky person.”

She was diagnosed as suffering from depression in 2000 and again in April 2005, three months before her death.

He said although she was upset, stressed and “felt down in her mood” she had not mentioned feeling suicidal and had been looking forward to the birth of her grandchild. He said she had been prescribed anti-depressants and in his opinion had been suffering from mild depression.

The trial continues.

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