Body in boot trial - victim ‘bruised and battered’

Joy Billam.
Joy Billam.

THE body of strangled Goldthorpe gran Joy Billam bore more than 50 bruises when she died, a court heard.

But her killer husband denies knowing how she came by them.

Raymond Billam of Guildford Road, Wheatley, admits manslaughter but denies murder on September 30 last year.

He said he strangled his wife with a transformer cable but of bruises to her arms, legs and head, he said: “I have no idea how she got them. I never hit Joy.”

He had “totally lost control” during an argument and told his estranged wife: “Shut your dirty mouth once and for all,” he said, but still denied intending to kill her.

Billam strangled 46-year old Joy after they rowed about the divorce Billam did not want. He told her he would “make her sweat” over it.

The day before her death, Joy became engaged to Michael Woodland, of Garden Street, Goldthorpe. Her engagement ring was with jewellery Billam claimed she had taken off at his home, because ‘Mikey didn’t like her wearing things given to her by me.’

Billam drove Joy’s body in the boot of her car and left it near Woodland’s home. When police visited the next day his response to being told of Joy’s death was “You’re joking”, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Billam, 63, admitted he told the police lies throughout, saying: “I wasn’t prepared to admit to myself I’d killed her.”

Prosecution Rodney Jameson suggested Billam had taken the body to a place where it would cast suspicion on Michael Woodland. He said: “Having punished Joy you were then going to try to punish him.” Billam denied planning anything.

Other discrepancies were raised by Mr Jameson. In court, Billam said he was “half-lying” on his wife when he killed her. But in his early statement he told police he was astride her and she was looking at him as he choked her. In court, Billam said his eyes were shut at the time.

“Is it possible,” said Mr Jameson, “that you just couldn’t bear the thought of Joy being happy with someone else.”

Billam denied having known who Joy was with or where she was living throughout the investigations, the jury was told, but a diary entry on August 3 stated he knew where she was within just three days of her leaving.

Defence witness Raymond Billam (junior), 37, said he had been close to Joy and called her mum. He said his father always wanted to get Joy back, but he thought he was trying to get on with his life. His father had told him he and Joy were sleeping together even after she left him, and he had told Joy he hoped she “wasn’t messing his dad’s head up.”

His father received divorce papers through the post at the end of September.

The day after the killing, Billam had settled down with cans of beer to watch a football match knowing, said Mr Jameson, that his wife’s body was lying in the boot of her abandoned car.

Billam said: “I was shaking. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

The trial continues...