MURDER TRIAL: Closing arguments in trial of man accused of murdering coin collector

Northampton Crown Court.
Northampton Crown Court.

The closing arguments have been made in the trial of Mark Ellson accused of murdering coin collector Giuseppe Miceli at his Northampton home.

The jury in Ellson’s murder trial at Northampton Crown Court has today been hearing the finaal arguments in the case, which is now into its ninth day.

Earlier this week, it was accepted by Ellson that Mr Miceli, aged 71, died at his home in Bants Lane, Duston on July 12 last year, when he struck him over the head with a rubber mallet on at least five occasions.

Ellson, aged 41, formerly of Wellingborough, admits the lesser charge of manslaughter, but denies murder.

In hearing the closing arguments, the jury was told it would need to consider what Ellson’s intentions were at the time he struck the blows to Mr Miceli’s head, and whether he intended to kill or seriously harm him.

Christopher Donnellan QC, prosecuting, “Mr Miceli was in his own home when he received a number of severe blows to his head. The man who delivered these blows was the defendant.

“You don’t need to prove he intended to kill. Even on his own account, he says he intended to daze. How exactly do you measure the amount of force to daze?

“If you hit someone with a mallet, there is only one inference. That is to cause serious harm.

“Only two people know what happened. Mr Miceli, who is dead, and cannot speak for himself, and the defendant, who cannot be trusted to say anything that is the truth.

“Mark Ellson is a confident, arrogant, calculating liar, and he has some stamina. Stamina to lie hour after hour after hour in his interview.

“This was not accidental lying. As soon as you give him half a hint, he sees and weaves his way through, giving what he needs to give to avoid the truth. There is no confusion in his mind.

“He said in interview that this was ‘killing him’. What a turn of phrase to use in a case like this.

“He is absolutely a liar, but he has woven in elements of truth. That is how he does it. This is a man who even deluded himself on the truth.

“He has been persistently dishonest throughout his life. There is nothing he is saying to you that can be relied on as truthful.”

William Harbage QC, defending, said: “Some, or most, or all of you may think I am defending the indefensible.

“I am not here to make excuses for Mr Ellson. I am not asking you to like Mr Ellson, and I accept there is much to dislike.

“But like anybody accused of a crime, he has the right to a fair trial.

“I am not asking you to say Mr Ellson is an innocent man. He has admitted he struck probably five blows, and this amounts to the very serious offence of manslaughter.

“This case lies in the requisite intent to kill or cause really serious harm, and he denies that intent.

“Let’s not beat about the bush. He is a convicted fraudster. You may think he is some sort of conman, or sponger. But that does not help on the question of intent at the moment that he swung the mallet, and it does not make him a murderer.

“The use of a rubber mallet is inconsistent with the intent to kill or cause serious harm. A flurry of blows does not necessarily mean intent to kill or cause serious harm.”

Judge Rupert Mayo is delivering his summing up of the case to the jury this afternoon (Thursday). The trial continues.