Murder trial day 2: vicious assault eight days before killing

Northampton Crown Court
Northampton Crown Court

A man who alleges that he was assaulted by some of the defendants accused of killing a 60-year-old man, just over a week before the murder, has given evidence in court today (Thursday February 14).

Glenn Clary, 60, of Garden Field Close, was discovered dead at a house in Crouch Road, Irthlingborough, on August 26 last year.

But just eight days prior to the incident 26-year-old Daniel Freeman, of Irthlingborough, claims that he was slapped, punched, stabbed, and hit with a belt buckle inside the home of one of the defendants accused of murdering Mr Clary.

John York, 23, of Crouch Road, Irthlingborough, Gary Monaghan, 64, also of Crouch Road, and Jennifer Ryan, 46, of Baker Street, Irthlingborough, are all charged with murder.

York, Ryan, and Neil Adams, 28, of Thomas Flawn Road, Irthlingborough, also face further charges of grievous bodily harm and false imprisonment in connection with an assault on Daniel Freeman, on August 18.

The further charges relate to an incident in the home of Ryan on Baker Street, where the alleged assault took place.

The court heard how Mr Freeman, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, had moved into the town in early July last year. He had made friends with Ryan and would regularly go round her house to drink alcohol and they had slept together on several occasions.

On the day of the alleged assault Mr Freeman told Northampton Crown Court that he arrived at Ryan’s home in the morning and after speaking for a while had gone to the shops to buy some cider.

Ryan and Mr Freeman began drinking and York and Adams arrived at the home later in the day.

At around half past four in the afternoon Ryan gave Mr Freeman £1 and asked the victim to go and buy some Rizzla cigarette paper at the shops. However, Mr Freeman returned home and a disagreement ensued.

Mr Freeman told the court that at first the defendants began to ‘take the mickey’ out of him but it got more serious when they began to shout at him.

Ryan then allegedly slapped the victim on a number of occasions and both York and Adams supposedly punched the man in the face.

Mr Freeman, who appeared via video link, told the court: “Everybody was shouting and John and Neil Adams started punching me in the head.”

It was at this point that Ryan allegedly went to the kitchen and returned with a bread knife, which she had wrapped in a tea towel. Mr Freeman claims that she then jabbed him in the knee with the knife, before ‘automatically’ stabbing him in the back, near the left shoulder blade.

It is then claimed that York took off his belt and wrapped it around his fist and proceeded to punch Mr Freeman once in the neck with the belt buckle.

At this point Mr Freeman said he got up and tried to head towards the back door but Ryan tried to tie the belt around his feet or legs.

However, the man eventually managed to break free and escaped through the back garden and over a gate.

Mr Freeman claims that York had chased him out of the back door, before giving up once he had jumped over the gate. Mr Freeman added: “ John was right behind me, he was pretty close. When I got over the gate he said ‘you’re so lucky.’”

Mr Freeman also claimed that at some point during the incident either Adams or York said to him ‘We are going to kill you and put you in the van.’ However, it is disputed what defendant made the threat,

After his escape the victim reported the incident to the police the next morning following a visit to the hospital.

The defence of Adams, York, and Ryan, all dispute the order in which the events happened and claim that their clients did not subject Mr Freeman to some of the things he claims. In defence of York, Sam Stein QC, told the jury that it was not possible for Mr Freeman to know who shouted the threat at him and Mary Loram QC in defence of Adams, claimed her client did not hit Mr Freeman, but was in fact just York who delivered the blows.

Mr Freeman also claimed that a further man who he called ‘Clinton’ was present during the assault. However, in his first two statements to the police Mr Freeman did not mention this man. He was only mentioned on his final statement in January of this year. Yet, when questioned about why he did not mention this man on previous occasions Mr Freeman told the court he had not told the police about his presence because he was ‘scared of him.’

The court also heard how York, and a man the victim did not know, allegedly robbed Mr Freeman of his mobile phone, a few weeks prior to this incident, which the defendant is also charged with.

York admits false imprisonment but denies all the other charges against him.

All the other defendants deny the charges against them.

The trial continues.