UK

Pub chef confessed to killing ex-partner to undercover officer, court hears

Darren Osment, 41, is on trial accused of murdering Claire Holland, 32, in 2012 (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Darren Osment, 41, is on trial accused of murdering Claire Holland, 32, in 2012 (Elizabeth Cook/PA) Darren Osment, 41, is on trial accused of murdering Claire Holland, 32, in 2012 (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

A pub chef accused of murdering his ex-partner suggested to an undercover police officer posing as a criminal that he had killed her, cut up her body with a knife and dumped her remains in water, a court heard.

Darren Osment, 41, is accused of murdering Claire Holland, 32, in a drunken argument hours after she was last seen leaving a pub in the centre of Bristol in June 2012.

Despite extensive police investigations the mother-of-four has never been seen since and her body never found.

Bristol Crown Court heard that when Osment fell under suspicion detectives deployed an undercover officer to befriend him.

Claire Holland
Claire Holland Claire Holland has not been seen alive since June 2012 (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)

Between December 2020 and July 2022, the officer – posing as a man called Paddy O’Hara – created a fiction of being involved in the criminal underworld with links to organised crime.

The court heard Mr O’Hara befriended Osment and they would spend many hours together playing pool or snooker, going for walks or engaging in supposed criminality.

All their conversations – whether in Mr O’Hara’s van, his flat or while out socialising – were covertly recorded.

Jurors were played recordings of what prosecutors said were their conversations, with Osment allegedly beginning to confide in Mr O’Hara about what had happened to Ms Holland, discussing alibis, and potentially trying to blame other people.

In one conversation Osment allegedly suggested to Mr O’Hara that as a trained chef he has “knife skills” and runs his hand across his torso while making a swishing sound to indicate he had cut up Ms Holland’s body.

On the tape Mr O’Hara appears to ask Osment: Mr O’Hara asks Osment: “Knife skills? Right, right, I get ya. Mate, are we saying in the water then and how, is that why it hasn’t floated to the top or what?”

Osment allegedly tells him: “Yes mate, it’s just, it’s all, it was, the time it happened there was a massive overflow.

“There was a load of f****** water, and it came rushing down, I know the f****** route it comes down, and I think it’s just f******… cause it’s such little bits.

“It’s all f****** weighed, it’s all down, it’s not going to come floating back up.

“Mate, I trust you like a f****** brother… it’s just, I don’t f****** cast my mind back to what I had to f******, do you know what I mean, it’s not f****** pleasant bro. It was f****** horrible.”

The defendant later told Mr O’Hara he had got rid of the weapon by putting it in the knife box of another chef he was working with at the time, the court heard.

He allegedly goes on to tell him: “And then, I just mate just I, you know, it’s what it is, but it’s all, all done, done and dusted, all the f****** work, clothes burnt outside, f****** everything’s gone, everything’s gone.

“As far as I am aware the bits and pieces are scattered.”

During a trip to Llandudno in North Wales in May last year, Osment allegedly tells Mr O’Hara: “You know what I mean? Like I said I’m not going to go into any details, I did what I did, I did what I done and…

“You don’t need to know any more, I don’t need to say any more. F******… it’s not a thing you go into details about.

“It makes me feel sick. But I did it for (my child). Cause she harmed my f****** child. And how they were brought up is f****** wrong.

“And that was her fault. I gave her every opportunity to do things right, I gave her money, money coming out of my arse. I was working every hour of the f****** day, what more do you want, and you f***** it.

“Don’t f*** with my family. You harm (my child) or (my other child) mate, you’re going to get it.”

The court heard that by this point Osment knew he was under suspicion for murdering Ms Holland because he had been arrested by detectives in March that year and released on bail until June.

In June he is informed no further action will be taken against him, and the pair begin discussing his release from bail.

Osment allegedly tells the undercover officer: “As far as I am concerned it’s been dealt with to an extent, do you know what I mean, I can’t see…

“I don’t think there’s nothing else that’s gonna pop up that you pretty much don’t already know about.

“I don’t know, unless they pull a f****** miracle, I don’t understand how there’s ever going to be, they shouldn’t ever have to question me again.

“This is the third f****** time basically. As far as I am concerned, I haven’t got a f****** clue. I was at work, I f****** finished work, I went home. I’ve got alibi all the f****** way.

“As far as I am concerned unless like I said I didn’t, even if they can pull f****** rabbits out of hats, they are still going to struggle big time.

“I know they are, especially when I have got little swerve balls to throw at them still.

“It’s what it is, it’s f****** done, and as far as I am f****** concerned I am going to forget about it now.”

The defendant, of Chessel Drive, Patchway, South Gloucestershire, has pleaded not guilty to murder on a date between June 5 and June 8 2012.

The trial continues.