Branston murder suspect’s brother says double killing was ‘a nightmare’

The brother of a Branston man accused of strangling their mother and killing her partner with a hammer told a jury it was a “nightmare” for their family.

Andrei-Mihai Simion-Munteanu, 22, denies murdering his mother, Dr Leela Monti, 51, and her partner, Robert Tully, 71, at her bungalow in Lincoln Road, Branston.

A jury at Lincoln Crown Court heard Simion-Munteanu spent several days driving around the UK in Mr Tully’s car after leaving their bodies in the bungalow.

The families of Premm Monti and Robert Tully released a photograph of the couple. Photo: Lincolnshire Police

Dr Monti, who was known as Leela, was reported missing to police after she failed to turn up for her work at a psychiatric clinic in Dudley, West Midlands.

Simion-Munteanu was found in Mr Tully’s car at Aberdeen airport and allegedly confessed to strangling his mother on the night of 28 to 29 July and attacking Mr Tully with a hammer.

He had failed to complete his final year at the University of Lincoln where he was studying for a degree in computer games development, had been diagnosed with depression and had previously spent time in a psychiatric hospital in the USA when he was on an internship with a software company organised by Mr Tully.

His defence team argue he is guilty of manslaughter rather than murder through diminished responsibility.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The jury heard Leela had three sons in Romania but moved to the UK in March 2013 after divorcing from their father.

She later began a relationship with former maths professor Robert Tully after meeting him on an internet dating site. Mr Tully was originally from the US but moved to the UK after selling his own IT business and held dual citizenship.

They enjoyed a long term relationship but never lived together with Mr Tully having a house in Market Rasen and Leela staying in Branston with her eldest son, Andrei.

Leela’s middle son, Paul Simion-Munteanu, told the jury he also moved to Lincoln where he lived with his mother and elder brother in Branston while completing his A’Levels at the Priory Academy. He later moved to university in Loughborough.

Paul said all of the family got on well but he agreed that looking back there were signs of mental disturbance in Andrei.

He recalled one incident where his brother refused to go on a family trip to Romania because he wanted to hurt himself, and another occasion where his mother rang to tell him Andrei was very sleepy after taking all his medication with alcohol.

Paul agreed the deaths of his mother and Mr Tully “were a nightmare for the family” and said his older brother had few friends and would only leave the house to attend university or the gym.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

When asked by Andrei’s barrister if he believed his brother was mentally ill, Paul replied: “Yes”.

Paul said he did not believe his brother was controlling, superior or a social predator – but he told the jury Andrei was sometimes impulsive and could become very angry if he was losing a computer game.

Leela, who studied medicine in Romania, had recently worked as a specialist doctor for Lincolnshire Foundation Partnership Trust from June 2013 until June 2019, working in a mental health unit at Lincoln County Hospital, and was also a staff governor.

Andrei-Mihai Simion-Munteanu, 22, of Lincoln Road, Branston, denies the murders of Leela Monti, 51, originally from Romania, and Robert Tully, 71, originally from the United States between 27 July and 6 August 2019.

The trial continues.

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