Murder trial jury told traveller was lured to death

PUBLISHED: 12:34 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 14:35 12 May 2010

Murder victim: Fred Moss

Murder victim: Fred Moss

A YOUNG traveller was lured to a remote spot in the countryside where he was shot dead and his body cut up into several parts, a jury has heard. Fred Moss, 21, was shot in the head before his alleged killer Christopher Nudds, 26, used a large knife and a

Fred's dog Nellie

A YOUNG traveller was lured to a remote spot in the countryside where he was shot dead and his body cut up into several parts, a jury has heard. Fred Moss, 21, was shot in the head before his alleged killer Christopher Nudds, 26, used a large knife and a hacksaw to dismember the body, it was claimed. Mr Moss' remains were then placed on wooden pallets and set on fire, so that nothing was left. To cover his tracks, Nudds was said to have driven his victim's lurcher dog Nellie to a spot nine miles away and let him loose so that the discovery would divert attention away from the murder site. The story was told at Northampton Crown Court where Nudds has pleaded not guilty to murdering Fred Moss on November 30, 2004. When the trial began last week, William Harbage QC, prosecuting, said: "This is an unusual case in that it is a murder where no body has been found." He said it was also a "particularly gruesome" crime which involved the dismemberment of Mr Moss's remains by his killer, who placed them in hessian sacks and binbags, before setting them alight. Mr Harbage said Nudds, of Mapleside, Stocking Pelham, had lured his victim to an isolated area of farmland which he had chosen as a spot to murder him. He continued that Mr Moss went missing on November 30, 2004. The jury heard that Nudds was a pest control expert and breeder of dogs and, like Mr Moss, he had a keen interest in outdoor pursuits which included hare coursing. He regularly shot pests on land at Highfield Farm, near Littlington, having been granted shooting rights by the owners. He would shoot there as much as twice a week, sometimes at night going out "lamping" to shoot rabbits. Mr Harbage said it meant he knew the four square miles of isolated farmland "like the back of his hand". The jury then heard how, on the morning of Tuesday November 30, Fred left his parents' home in his bright yellow Astra van with Nellie next to him. Mr Harbage said cellsite evidence regarding Mr Moss's mobile indicated that he had met up with Nudds in the Buntingford area and from there they had driven to Steeple Morden. At about 1pm, Mr Moss's van and Nudds's dark green Range Rover were seen in convoy on closed-circuit television. By 1.15pm, said Mr Harbage, Mr Moss's mobile phone placed him in the area close to Highfield Farm. Mr Harbage said the area was made up of isolated arable farmland and, although much of it was open and flat, there were a number of farm tracks only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles and secluded by trees and bushes. He said Mr Moss was killed somewhere on the path between 3.15pm and 3.37pm. From Highfield Farm, said Mr Harbage, Nudds drove his victim's dog nine miles north to near Newton where he abandoned the animal in the road. The court was told that when Mr Moss's family heard the dog had been found days later, hundreds of people involved in searching for him switched their attention to the Newton area. Mr Harbage said Nudds went back to the farm on a number of occasions in the days following the murder to clear up and he even pretended to find Mr Moss's van in Steeple Morden. While held in Bedford Prison, it was alleged that Nudds told a cellmate how he had killed Mr Moss with a "low calibre gun", dismembering the body with a knife and hacksaw and transporting it in the back of his vehicle to a spot where he was able to burn the remains. Police discovered human blood on a knife belonging to Nudds and a forensic examination of it revealed a DNA profile that matched Mr Moss. His DNA was also discovered on a hacksaw belonging to Mr Nudds and the same DNA was discovered in the boot of Nudds's car. Mr Harbage continued that while in prison Nudds was claimed to have displayed "chilling sarcasm" when he said he had done Mr Moss's family a favour. He was claimed to have said: "At least they won't have to buy him a coffin." From the witness box, Pc Suzanne Burns said Nudds had walked into Bishop's Stortford police station and claimed he had been abducted by travellers. The trial continues.

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