Accused ‘bragged about murder of Kettering man’

Havelock Street in Kettering
Havelock Street in Kettering
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A Kettering man accused of murdering a vulnerable alcoholic bragged about how he left a man tied up in his home after hitting him with a brick, a jury heard.

Phillip Haslam, 36, is accused of tying up 62-year-old John Kiernan, gagging him with a pair of socks and then murdering him at his flat in Havelock Street, Kettering, in September last year.

He is on trial at Northampton Crown Court with Christine Windle, 37, who is charged with burgling Mr Kiernan’s home in the days leading up to his death.

His decomposing body was discovered on October 1 when police broke into the address. It may have laid undiscovered for up to two weeks after he was “hog-tied”, gagged and killed.

A jury has heard how the couple were living with Louise Wall in Gloucester Close, Kettering, at the time they are alleged to have targeted Mr Kiernan, who lived alone.

Giving evidence, Miss Wall, 32, said she saw Haslam the morning after he is alleged to have committed the murder with blood on the sleeve of his white hooded coat.

She said: “He asked if he could wash his coat because it was covered in blood. I saw it. It was a white creamy-coloured coat with fur on the inside. It was mostly on the sleeve.”

David Herbert, prosecuting, said: “Seeing all that blood, did you ask how it got there?”

She said: “He’d already told me. He said he had tied someone up and gagged him and then hit him several times with a brick. He said it was the alcoholic. It was sort of a joke.

“I can’t remember exactly what he said but it was like a joke when someone said ‘literally?’

“I said to him ‘What do you mean? Have you literally tied someone up? Phil told me the man was tied up, gagged and with head injuries. He’d been trying to get some money from him.”

Mr Herbert asked if Haslam had stolen anything from the Havelock Street address.

Miss Wall said: “Just stupid stuff like tea bags, dried milk and soap powder. Stupid things like that and some cheques. He said he had made him write out some cheques.

“I kept asking him if the man would get himself loose and asked him to go round there and check that he was OK.

“I’m sure he said he was tied up at the back so he could get himself loose, wiggle himself free.”

Mr Herbert said: “How many times did you say that?”

Miss wall said: “Loads. He said he would do it that night.”

The court heard she later told a police officer what Haslam had told her and said the officer had laughed in her face, adding: “Phil couldn’t hurt a fly.”

A week later Mr Kiernan’s body was discovered.

Miss Wall added: “I asked Phil on several occasions if he would go round and check on him and he said he would do it. He said the man was OK and I said ‘Brilliant’”

The jury heard Haslam is alleged to have first told Miss Wall and others that Mr Kiernan was not there when he had checked on him but later told them how he had found him dead.

Haslam denies murder and Windle denies burglary.

The trial continues.