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Man, 53, denies killing online date, 55, by spiking her vape fluid with painkiller

Christopher Downes is accused of the manslaughter of Kim Harrop, who he met online, in Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

A dating website user has vigorously denied spiking the drink or vape fluid of a woman who tragically died after he met her for the first time and took back to his Humberston Fitties chalet.
Father-of-four Christopher Downes met 55-year-old Kim Harrop online after the death earlier that year of a previous girlfriend, who suffered from cancer. After Miss Harrop died, he still had supplies of a pain-relieving drug that was used to help the cancer victim but he denied that he had
Kim Harrop, pictured, was found dead in a chalet after an online date with Christopher Downes. (Reach) (MEN MEDIA)

A man has denied killing a woman he met online by spiking her drink or vape fluid with painkiller at his seaside chalet.

Christopher Downes, 53, is accused of the manslaughter of Kim Harrop, 55, after she was found dead in his bed at the chalet in Humberston Fitties, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, on 22 April 2018.

The pair met online after the death earlier that year of Downes's previous girlfriend, who suffered from cancer.

Downes, who has four daughters aged 11 to 30, denied stockpiling supplies of the painkiller used to help his previous partner.

A coroner's report found that traces of the drug oxycodone were found in Ms Harrop's blood, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Downes said he had "no reason whatsoever" to spike her drinks or vape fluid, and denied being "overkeen" to find out the cause of her death, saying he "wanted to be cleared of all blame".

The court heard that Downes, from St George's Avenue, Dunsville, near Doncaster, met Ms Harrop on a dating website three weeks before her death.

When police went to his home on 14 June 2018, they found a bottle of oxycodone.

Asked by defence barrister Naeem Mian KC if he gave oxycodone to Ms Harrop, Downes said: "Absolutely not. I kept absolutely everything in order to assist with that inquest, including the bottle."

Crown court stock. A general view of Sheffield Crown Court, Sheffield.
Christopher Downes is on trial for manslaughter at Sheffield Crown Court. (Alamy) (Dave Higgens, PA Images)

When asked if he had spiked her drink or vape fluid, Downes replied: "Absolutely not."

He denied "stockpiling" the drug, saying it was needed to give his ex-girlfriend the pain relief she required while battling cancer.

Read more: Woman paralysed by herd of cows woke in hospital to hear husband was trampled to death

Downes said he had taken the painkiller himself "two or three times" to ease the pain from a recurring abscess on a tooth.

He said there was a delay in him dialling 999 after Ms Harrop's death because the batteries of his two phones were flat.

(Reach)
Christopher Downes is accused of the manslaughter of Kim Harrop, pictured. (Reach) (Reach)

Mr Mian said the prosecution claimed Downes had deleted data from his phone during this time, but the defendant said: "I have no memory of deleting anything whatsoever from my phone.

"When the police arrived, I made them fully aware of everything I knew that had happened during that date.

"After the ambulance people had tried to save Kim's life, they called in the police because it was an unexplained death."

Mr Mian said the prosecution claimed Downes showed "overkeenness" to know the cause of Ms Harrop's death.

Downes told the court: "Of course I was keen. This woman passed away under my roof.

"I was the only other person there. I was very keen to find out why she had died. I was the only other person present. I wanted to be cleared of all blame."

Downes admitted going into Ms Harrop's purse and taking a screenshot of her driving licence.

The trial continues.