Leah Ware’s phone goes off the grid when locked in a shipping container, murder trial claims

The phone of a woman who was allegedly murdered disconnected from the network when it was locked inside the shipping container she was living in, a court has heard.

Mark Brown, 41, of Squirrel Close in St Leonards, East Sussex, is charged with the murder of Alexandra Morgan, 34, and Leah Ware, 33, six months apart in 2021.

He denies both charges.

Tobie Clapcott, a former Sussex police officer who is an expert in cell site information, gave evidence at Hove Crown Court on Thursday about the position and movement of Brown and Miss Ware’s cellphones.

He explained that cell phones connect to cell sites and send out signals known as “handshakes” several times a day, recording where the phone is and when “orderly shutdowns” occur – such as when a phone is manually turned off or turns off when the battery runs out.

However, there were times when Miss Ware’s mobile completely disappeared from the network, with no orderly shutdown. These “messy shutdowns” can happen when the battery is removed from a phone or the phone is in a location with no signal.

Prosecution lawyer Duncan Atkinson KC argued that those times were consistent with Miss Ware’s phone being inside the Little Bridge Farm shipping container with the door closed.

The jury has already heard that Miss Ware described to friends and family in the months before her disappearance that Brown was more in control of her actions and behavior – and sometimes locked her in the shipping container.

The Mark Brown Affair

Mark Brown is charged with the murder of Leah Ware, 33 (Sussex Police/PA)

Tests by Kent and Sussex Police revealed that mobile phones could connect to the network when the shipping container door was open, but not when the door was closed.

Miss Ware’s phone stopped connecting to the cell site’s network on May 8, 2021, the day after the prosecution alleged she was killed.

His phone left the network in a “messy shutdown” on the evening of May 7, returning to the network at 8:57 a.m. the next morning, and in and out of the network throughout the day until it was turned off. manually in an “orderly” manner. shutdown” at 2:38 p.m.

Mr Clapcott said: ‘That was the last time this phone was seen on the network.

During cross-examination of the witness, defense attorney Ian Henderson KC explained that cell site data is limited.

Mr Clapcott added: “The coverage of a mast in a rural area can be at least three to five kilometers, but depending on the conditions and if there are no obstructions, a signal will travel – it is an explosion of energy.

“The phones could have been at Little Bridge Farm, but could have been anywhere near the cell phone mast.

“During a disorderly shutdown, the signal may be cut off or lost – in a rural area, you may simply run out of signal.”

The trial continues.

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