A verdict in the trial of a Worksop teen accused of manslaughter could be delivered by the end of the week.
The 16-year-old defendant is accused of unlawfully killing Glen Kitchens, 40, on 6th April this year.
He can not be named for legal reasons, but has given evidence at Nottingham Crown Court today (Wednesday 30th October 2013) denying the charge.
Several witnesses have given evidence during the trial, which will enter its ninth day tomorrow.
Some of them, friends of the defendant, say they saw him deliver a punch to Mr Kitchens’ face which rendered him unconscious and sent him crashing to the floor.
He suffered a fractured skull and a brain injury from which he died.
The alleged incident happened outside Burton’s clothes shop on Bridge Street in Worksop at around 7.20pm on a light spring evening.
The court heard there was a confrontation between Mr Kitchens and a gang of youths who had been causing trouble in Worksop town centre that afternoon.
Witnesses claim someone shouted for the defendant who was 50 metres away in Ryton Street and came running to the scene before landing the fatal blow.
He admits running to see what was happening but denies punching Mr Kitchens.
Prosecution barrister Philip Gibbs told the jury in his closing speech: “The defendant said he walked towards the incident, he said Glen Kitchens was on the ground before he got there. That is a lie.”
“The defendant liked to show he was hard. Glen Kitchens, a man who just went out for a quiet afternoon drink, sadly felt that force.”
“His accusers are his friends. They were good friends until the moment he struck Glen Kitchens.”
In his closing speech, defence barrister Martin Hurst told the jury his client had been set up by his friends.
He accused several teenagers, who gave evidence earlier in the trial, of lying.
“These four couldn’t lie straight in bed,” he said.
“The root of this case was something to do with a lie that they all got together and concocted to try and keep the girls out of it.”
“There was a meeting, a gathering, an association, or just hanging around together - whatever you want to call it - on a play park at 8pm that night.”
The court heard how the teenagers had all claimed they did not see or speak to each other after the earlier incident in town.
But CCTV shows three of the girls near the play park at 8pm.
The mother of another girl told the court her daughter had been inundated with texts from other girls in the days after Mr Kitchens died.
Said Mr Hurst: “The girls have been at the police station and they are desperate to get to her, to get their stories straight.”
It was also suggested that other teenage witnesses changed their accounts of that day, to try and place their friends out of the frame.
Mr Hurst asked the jury if their testimonies could be relied on.
“If that is not the clearest evidence of a conspiracy, heads being got together to pervert the course of justice, to confuse the police and to confuse you, I don’t know what is,” he said.
A vital piece of evidence has never been recovered - the clothes worn by the defendant that day.
CCTV shows him wearing a white T-shirt and a red hoodie around his shoulders around the time of the attack on Mr Kitchens.
He is captured running away from the scene with the hood pulled up, the prosecution claims, to hide his face from the cameras.
Today the defendant told the court he had gone to a relative’s house after the incident and put his T-shirt in the wash because it was dirty from jumping over a wall.
He said he borrowed a grey T-shirt and later, when he got home, put three jumpers or coats on over the top ‘because it was cold’.
The court was told that when police arrested him later that night and asked the clothes he was wearing, he gave them the fresh clothes.
The red hoodie was never found. The defendant said he must have left it at the relative’s house.
He told the court: “They didn’t say which specific clothes they wanted.”
Said Mr Gibbs: “As soon as the police arrived on your doorstep you set out to mislead them, didn’t you?”
The defendant replied: “No.”
Mr Gibbs continued: “You got rid of your clothing when you got back didn’t you?”
“No, I washed it cos it had muck all over it,” said the defendant.
Mr Gibbs continued: “Why did you go there (to the relative’s house)? Was it because you wanted to get advice and they told you to get rid of your clothes?”
“No,” he said.
Mr Gibbs continued: “You continued lying for a considerable length of time, telling the police you had been wearing the grey T-shirt and three coats, only conceding when you were shown CCTV stills of you wearing the red hoodie.”
He said the teenager had continued to deceive police about the grey T-shirt, only admitting he had earlier worn a white one when faced with irrefutable CCTV evidence.
The defendant maintains he did not punch Mr Kitchens.
In his closing speech Mr Hurst appealed to the jury to decide if they were ‘sure’ the defendant threw the fatal punch.
He said: “We all love a ‘Whodunnit’. It seems to be in the British DNA, from Miss Marple, to Poirot, to Columbo. But none of those characters will come into the court room tomorrow and tell you who did it.”
“You must decide, and it is a very heavy burden on your shoulders.”
“Before you can say ‘guilty’, you have to say to yourself ‘have I studied my own heart intimately? Am I sure the defendant did it?”
“Imagine he didn’t and he gets the punishment for killing a man.”
Tomorrow Judge Nigel Godsmark will deliver his summing up of the case.
The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict in the afternoon.
The trial continues.
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