Image copyright West Midlands Police/Family handout Image caption Lisa Bennett disappeared on 9 May 2013.

A woman accused of drowning a homeless woman before dumping her body in a bin which was later incinerated, has declined to give evidence.

Kathleen Salmond, 40, is charged with murdering 39-year-old Lisa Bennett.

Ms Salmond's boyfriend, Kevin Flanagan, is also charged with murder and earlier declined to return to the witness box at Birmingham Crown Court.

The court previously heard they killed Miss Bennett so they could spend her benefits. They both deny murder.

Before refusing to give further evidence, Flanagan, 39, of Redbrook Covert, Kings Norton, told the court he and Ms Salmond, of Farmhurst Road, Hodge Hill, put Miss Bennett's body in the wheelie bin in May 2013.

Prosecutors had told the court the body was then incinerated at a waste facility.

The couple then went on to "reap the benefit of Lisa's disappearance" after Ms Salmond allegedly phoned the Department for Work and Pensions and pretended to be Miss Bennett while asking for her benefit money to be paid into her own account.

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The court previously heard from prosecutors that Flanagan's brother went to police and said the defendant had told him the couple had killed Miss Bennett.

Asked about this on Thursday, Flanagan denied saying Miss Bennett had been deliberately killed.

He admitted saying he and Ms Salmond had put the body in the bin, but said he had told his brother Miss Bennett had died of an overdose.

After a break in proceedings Flanagan said he was not going to give any more evidence.

On Friday, he repeated his wish to not continue and Ms Salmond, appearing via videolink due to being confined to a bed or wheelchair, also declined to give evidence.

Ms Salmond also denies charges of benefit fraud between 8 and 31 May, 2013, and preventing Miss Bennett's burial, charges which Flanagan has admitted.

The trial continues.

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