Eastborough murder: trial begins

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A man was left bleeding to death after he was stabbed in the leg during a robbery to steal drugs from him, a murder trial jury was told.

Jonathan Binns, 41, was visiting a friend’s flat in Eastborough, Scarborough, when four other drug users also arrived on the evening of August 7 last year looking for drugs or money.

Adrian Waterman QC prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court today (Monday) that Mr Binns had bought some heroin from a dealer earlier that night and had just used some on a foil before the quartet arrived.

He was sitting on a chair and the foil he had used was visible on the floor. One of the group borrowed some tobacco from him to make a cigarette.

The occupant of the flat, Gary Thomas, said the four appeared to be exchanging glances and whispering as though they knew something.

He told the jury one of them, David White then moved to one side of the chair and started to attack Mr Binns “hitting him, punching him, ragging him about, shouting ‘Give us your money, give us what you have got’.”

Another of the men, Kevin John Pickering, then went to the other side of the chair and both were shouting “hand it over”.

He said Pickering had picked up a knife from a work surface and either jabbed Mr Binns in the face with it or it caused a wound with it to his face in the struggle as it was held towards him.

“All of this violence and use of the knife was for one purpose, to effect the robbery, to get the drugs, but Mr Binns did not give up he resisted.”

Mr Waterman told the jury Pickering then stabbed down with the knife into the leg of Mr Binns hitting the femoral artery and causing blood to “literally come pumping out.”

He said that caused another of the four, James Cousins, to gasp at the amount of blood there was.

“Even then the deceased resisted and the violence continued,” he said.

Mr Thomas offered the men the piece of foil from the floor but it was not accepted at that stage. “They knew Mr Binns had more and they were going to take it.”

“As he lost blood at last they managed to get his jacket from him and as soon as those carrying out the assault had got the jacket all of them left.” Cousins picked up the foil before doing so.

Mr Waterman said one or more of them told Mr Thomas “don’t grass”. They were caught on CCTV as they ran from the building leaving blood on the stairs on their way out of the top floor flat. By the time paramedics arrived Mr Binns was dead.

They then returned to White’s home where they shared the drug and discussed if Mr Binns would have died, Pickering having disposed of the knife on the way.

Pickering, 30 of Royal Crescent, Scarborough denies the murder of Mr Binns but has admitted his manslaughter and robbery.

White 34 of Queens Terrace, Scarborough denies murder or the alternative manslaughter but has admitted robbery.

Cousins, 31 of Woodlands Place, Manchester and Nicholas Polihronos, 31 of Stoney Haggs Rise, Seamer, each deny murder, the alternative manslaughter and robbery. The trial is expected to last four weeks.

Mr Waterman told the jury it was not the Crown’s case that Pickering intended to kill Mr Binns that night but by stabbing him in the leg he intended to hurt him really seriously and that also amounted to murder.

He said the others had continued to participate knowing there was a risk of that serious harm. White actually starting the robbery and his being the last act of violence taking Mr Binns fleece jacket, while Polihronos and Cousins could sensibly be inferred to foresee the risk of such serious injury making them guilty as well.

He said a day or two before the death Pickering had been beaten up by some “Scouser” drug dealers to whom he told police White owed money. “Whether he was assaulted because of White’s debt or because of one of his own, it was clearly drug related,” said Mr Waterman.

On August 7 trying to make money or simply to fund his drug habit he was caught shoplifting and was only released from the police station about 8.27pm that night by which time Polihronos had already been trying to contact a dealer to get drugs.

At one point he succeeded and took them to White’s address but it was described as “poor quality” by White’s girlfriend and it was then the four went out looking for more.

The trial continues.