A missing mother-of-five allegedly murdered by her former lover had everything to live for and was making plans for the future, a court has heard.
Sarah Wellgreen, 46, has not been seen since disappearing from the home she shared with taxi driver Ben Lacomba, 39, in New Ash Green, Kent, in October 2018.
She had a new job as a beautician and was leading “a happy life with much to look forward to”, a jury at London’s Woolwich Crown Court was told.
Lacomba denies murdering Wellgreen on October 9 2018. Despite extensive police searches, her body has never been found.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said Wellgreen disappeared in the early hours of October 10 2018, adding: “That night, she was not abducted and murdered by a stranger.
“She did not leave her home voluntarily, abandoning her children for whatever reason, never to return.
“She was murdered by this defendant, her former partner.
“He then disposed of her body. Only this defendant knows where it is and exactly what he did that night.”
The “precise” details of what happened to Wellgreen are “not known to anyone other” than Lacomba, according to Morgan.
She told the jury that the evidence provides a “compelling picture from which you can be sure that Sarah was killed by him and he then disposed of her body”.
Lacomba murdered Wellgreen in a “calculated manner designed to avoid detection, to leave no trace” and to “remove her from his life forever”, according to the prosecution.
The couple met online in 2004 but by the time of the alleged murder their relationship was marked by “tensions and problems”, the court heard.
They had split up but were still living under the same roof and it “appears that potential loss of that family home, that property, and his children motivated his actions”, Morgan said.
Lacomba says he was asleep in bed on the night of the alleged killing, but a witness in the house says that neither he nor Wellgreen were there, the court heard.
Whatever happened on that night, Wellgreen’s iPhone, wallet, car and keys remained at the address, the jury heard.
Morgan said that no blood traces or obvious signs of attack were found at the property, and there is no CCTV footage which suggests that anyone else had been at the address.
The prosecution allege that Lacomba switched off the CCTV system in the middle of the night and parked his car in an unusual spot in order to evade detection.
Had he parked in his normal place it would have been “game over” and his actions would have been seen, according to Morgan.
The prosecution say that Lacomba’s car is seen in other CCTV footage and he went down country lanes “somewhere we will never be able to identify and that’s why Sarah’s body has never been found”, according to Morgan.
Wellgreen had started seeing other men after breaking up with Lacomba in 2014. She came home one night to find the locks had been changed on the house, the court heard.
Wellgreen had sought treatment for depression but she was in good spirits, in fact “there is nothing to suggest that she was anything other than in a positive frame of mind and looking forward to her future” in October 2018, Morgan said.
Wellgreen wanted to buy Lacomba out of the family home and was working on getting a mortgage.
She had begun the day she was allegedly murdered by going on the school run, the prosecution said.
She had sent an email accepting a new job and carried out beauty therapy treatments for private clients, who described her as being in a “friendly and chatty” mood, the court heard.
Morgan said she could not say whether or not Wellgreen and Lacomba had argued that night about her new job, and how it may affect his position.
The jury heard that one of the last contacts anyone had with her was a goodnight message she sent to an old friend, in which they had arranged to meet a week later.
It read: “There is always something to look forward to, you just need to open your eyes a bit more and dream.”