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Body in a suitcase murder trial: day ten
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- Three people are accused of murdering Boscombe man Geoffrey Reed.
- Stuart Raymond Wareham, 26, of Cecil Road, Boscombe, Benjamin Henry Walter, 22, and Lee Raymond Wareham, 33, both of no fixed address, are accused of murdering Mr Reed, 57, in Bournemouth between June 6 and June 14 last year
- Mr Reed,a convicted sex offender, went missing from his flat in Cecil Road. His remains were discovered in an area of woodland off Huntick Road, Lytchett Matravers, north of Poole.
- Timothy Mousley QC and Simon Jones prosecute.
- Stuart Wareham is represented by Ian Lawrie QC and Timothy Bradbury.
- Lee Wareham is represented by Oba Nsugbe QC and Rebecca Fairbairn.
- Benjamin Walter is represented by David Mason QC and Andrew Baker.
That's it for the day. Court resumes on Monday
Lawyer asking whether Lee suggested putting Mr Reed's clothes on and walking around the block, as Stuart said.
Benjamin said this was Stuart's idea
Lawyer says Lee was in the bathroom with the door locked. Benjamin had to wait outside the bathroom. He says he could not see what was happening to Mr Reed at that point. When he went in, he heard thuds "sufficiently violent that the floor was vibrating," lawyer says. When he came out, Lee was stood in the hallway
Now asking questions about the screwdriver Benjamin was asked to hand to Lee. Benjamin said this was to unscrew the bath panel to hide Mr Reed.
Q: as Geoffrey came in though that door he was attacked by Stuart for whatever reason. Lee was in the bathroom. It was a violent attack.
Asking who texted Kelly, Stuart's sister, to get her to drive the body of Mr Reed to his nan's farm in Lytchett. Benjamin said Stuart did this
We're going back over statement made to the police. Benjamin told officers that when he saw Mr Reed dead "I felt sick. That was why I was in the toilet for five minutes."
Looking back at the events of June 7. Let's lawyer still cross examining Benjamin, who again describes hearing a "very heavy thudding sound" from the bathroom
Q: clearly it made you feel good. Did it occur to you he might be playing you again?
Lawyer said Stuart is "a bit like a puppet-master pulling strings"
Letter from Stuart to Benjamin when he included part of letter he said he sent to Lee. This includes the line "how many times do I have to tell you that I'm not going to betray Henry."
benjamin's response to the letter was to say "it meant a lot reading it and I love the fact that you were defending me."
Benjamin writes to Stuart about "What I do best, which is standing by everyone who needs guidance, advice and friendship"
Lawyer asking how long Benjamin considered "shopping the wrong guy", Lee.
Benjamin said "not long really."
He adds "otherwise it looks like I've got something to hide."
Q: I put to you that you did not want to shop Stuart Wareham and I suggest there must have been a good deal of turmoil inside of you when you told the jury what happened
Benjamin says "I had to choose between my heart or telling the truth"
Q: at the end of the day it (telling the truth) meant you shopping your best friend didnt it?
Q: when push came to shove you did that didn't you?
Questions about Stuart and Benjamin saying they would blame Lee for Mr Reed's death
Q: this is Stuart Wareham pulling your strings
Benjamin said "you've got to speak the truth, don't you?"
Letter from Stuart to Benjamin saying no one has replied to his letters including Lee. Benjamin also did not write to Lee
Benjamin wrote to Stuart to say "we are a team from now until we die mate."
Q: If you were given the choice of choosing between Lee Wareham and Stuart Wareham as your closest friend who would you have chosen?
Lawyer says despite that he still told police Stuart had killed Mr Reed
Relationship with Lee discussed. They had met about four or five times and they were not particularly close, Benjamin says
Q: you feel like brothers against the world
Q: we've heard Stuart say he was prepared to die for you and at that point you felt the same way
Q: There were a number of occasions where he (Stuart) was telling you to say no comment
Benjamin says deep down he knows he can't go no comment and has to tell the truth
Benjamin wrote to Stuart "we are close and we always will be close". Lawyer says "those are some deep feelings" and says he loved him as a brother. Benjamin agree
Benjamin now being questioned by Lee's lawyer.
Q: the time i want you to think about is effectively the good times between you and Stuart.
More letters to be read out from Benjamin
Short break now- back at 3.30
Talking about time when Stuart allegedly grabbed Benjamin by the throat. Stuart has passed a note to his lawyer to say Benjamin had tried to attack Adam and Stuart was restraining him
Q: did you stamp on Mr Reed? Did you cause his death?
Benjamin tells the court he would "never in a million years" do that
Benjamin said Stuart grabbed him by the throat until he blacked out once. Lawyer says "are you making this up?" Benjamin said no
Q: you made no effort when the shock had worn off to think "poor Mr Reed has been murdered by my friend, I'll go to the police"
Benjamin again says there was a threat to his life. Q about Benjamin giving Mr Reed's phone to Daniel to sell to Cash Converters but Benjamin said this didn't happen
Defence for Stuart asking why Benjamin didn't just walk out of the door and go to the police. Benjamin says again "I didn't want to end up in the suitcase".
"I'm not going to put my own life in jeopardy am I?" he says.
Q: you seem quite happy to put on the man's jacket and walk around the block
benjamin says "Stuart said if I wouldn't help him I would be in the same situation and I don't want to end up in the suitcase"
Asking about Benjamin going to the bathroom three times to look in the mirror while Mr Reed was apparently outside being beaten.
Q: Do these events mean nothing to you?
Q: you knew he had broken ribs because you had stamped on him
Back to police interview. Benjamin told police he couldn't see "any broken ribs or anything."
Q: I want to know why you used phrase "broken ribs"
benjamin said he spoke to his lawyer and he told him about the ribs. However, this is not the explanation he gave police when they asked him the same question
Q: would it cause you upset if a sex offender essentially said he was going to rape a girl you fancied?
Q: were you upset by these remarks?
No, because he never said them
Stuart said there was violence because Mr Reed made reference to having sex with Billie-Jo even if she didn't want him too. However, Benjamin said this never happened and there was no argument between he and Stuart prior to Mr Reed's death
Benjamin said he is nine stone and Stuart is 30 stone so there was nothing he could do
Q: you made no effort at all did you?
Asks why Benjamin didnt get help from Daniel or Lee. B said "it has nothing to do with me"
Q: how long we're you in the bathroom for?
About five minutes.
Benjamin again says he heard thudding and the floor vibrated.
Q: you get upset by violence don't you? This is violence on someone you know and like.
he asks why Benjamin didnt go over and intervene
Lawyer says it sounds strange that Benjamin would help Mr Reed twice in Nationwide but not when he is being attacked
Q: did you ask Stuart 'what the hell are you doing?'
Q: why not?
It was none of my business
When Benjamin and Mr Reed returned, Benjamin says Stuart locked the four and suddenly Stuart grabbed the victim by the throat. Benjamin said there was no tension or animosity between the two men.
Q: so your reaction to this is what exactly?
Bejamin said it was nothing to do with him and he walked away because he doesn't like violence
When they returned to Nationwide, Benjamin again did all the talking. "Aggressive and argumentative and spoke abruptly" statement from counter staff reads
Male 1 refers to Benjamin.
questions about Benjamin smoking between one and four joints a day. He said he would buy about £30 of cannabis and had £112 fortnightly in JSA
Benjamin said he wasn't. "Male 1 was quite desperate to get the money out if the account" statement continues
Counter staff at Nationwide have statement to say Benjamin was "agitated and argumentative" and he was the one with the bank card
Q: what possible help could he need?
Benjamin said Mr Reed asked him to go both times.
Q: when you were in nationwide how would you describe your demeanour? We're you polite? Were you pleasant? Did you show any aggression?
In interview, he told police about going to Nationwide again and said "I know because Geoff won't stand up for himself verbally". He tells the police he wants to make sure Mr Reed got what he needed.
Q: What help does he need from you in nationwide?
I was just helping him
Benjamin is now being asked about taking Mr Reed to Nationwide twice on June 7.
Q: Why did you go a second time?
To help out somebody
Questions about any problems or issues between Mr Reed and Stuart. Benjamin said there were no issues or problems at all up until June 7.
By interview three police were enquiring about suitcase but Benjamin continued to lie. Then told about CCTV of him leaving flat in Mr Reed's jacket but he still did not tell police
Q: you are prepared to lie when it suits your purpose, aren't you?
Summary of first four interviews with police being read out. Benjamin was alone for first three and had solicitor for last two interviews.
Q: you accept over those interviews that in fact you told a number of lies
Adam said in evidence that "Mr Reed was not overly find of Henry" but Benjamin said this isn't true. Should have said earlier- Benjamin goes by name of Henry to many of his friends
Benjamin told his brother that sometimes Mr Reed "****ed me off."
He said the victim put on the television early and moaned about him to others.
He also called Mr Reed "Voldemort", an evil character in the Harry Potter books. In another letter, he signed off as the "suitcase assassin", a prison nickname.
Benjamin said: "I told them I'd buried Mr Reed in a suitcase."
Q: did you think it was funny to use that title?
I did at the time
In police interview Benjamin says he always looked for the good side in people. But lawyer says in his letters he refers to Mr Reed as "that ****** paedo". Benjamin said while he was In custody he reflected on Mr Reed's crimes
Q: in one if your letters, you say "I don't hate you mate, you haven't ****** up our friendship because Geoffrey isn't the only one who liked you- I like you too"
Stuart was not "terribly happy" about Benjamin going out with Billie-Jo, lawyer said. It would be a "betrayal" because Benjamin was going out with Stuart himself, he says
Billie-Jo said she would tell Benjamin later when he asked her out. He describes her as "red hair, a bit shorter than me, about 19 years old, medium build."
Every letter shown to the jury from Benjamin had a reference to Billie-Jo
Q: Stuart is the man who gave you the support. Stuart is the man you were prepared to lie for.
Asks Benjamin if he fancied Billie-Jo. Benjamin agrees
Q: If there was an argument between Mr Reed and Mr Wareham whose side would you take?
Letter from Stuart to Benjamin listing their five best times together. Lawyer asking about one of the times. Benjamin said it refers to Stuart "being accused of rape" but lawyer said this refers to the first time they kissed
Q: You were happily in a bisexual relationship with Mr Wareham weren't you?
Q: During your correspondence did you have a falling out with Stuart Wareham?
Another: "Why do you have a scar with a letter H?" Benjamin said that was in reply to a letter Stuart sent him and lawyer replies, "yes... Cut his wrists in prison"
Another letter: "love and miss you brother. Henry xxxx"
Back to letters. Benjamin signed off "love you too, brother" in a number of letters to Stuart. One says "miss and love you loads xxxxx". Another says "miss you mate, hope to see you soon. Be strong. Love Henry xxxxx".
Lawyer asks "did you love him as a friend?" Benjamin says "yes I did - as a brother"
Q: you were quite happy to share the floor and certainly the same bed with Mr Wareham (in Cecil Road)
He says another man, Ben Lunt, was responsible for the arson but he accepted the blame. He was living with Ben at the time.
He was on bail at the time and didnt want to be locked up, he said. But he insists he didn't commit arson
Questions about arson for which Benjamin was cautioned. He says he told police another man was responsible first but accepted it even though he wasn't guilty of it
Q: you are capable of speaking up for somebody if you need to
Q: would you describe yourself as an even-tempered young man?
Benjamin needs this explaining and then says yes
Questions being asked about where Benjamin stayed when he came to Bournemouth from Spain. He stayed in another hostel in Bournemouth before he moved to Cecil Road but left because of an "allegation." After this he slept on the streets for seven weeks
Asking about Benjamin's friendships with the people he lived with, including Stuart, Lee and Mr Read. Benjamin said he had good relationships wiry everyone.
Q: you said earlier you felt as if you had been disowned by your adopted parents?
Lawyer asks "are you bisexual?" Benjamin says "no." Lawyer said "are you ashamed your parents might find out you're bisexual?" He replies "no."
Lawyer says "this was the man who gave you cheap accommodation where you had nowhere to live." Adds "this was a man who was kind to you." Benjamin says yes
Questions from Stuart's lawyer. He asks Benjamin: "what value do you put on a man's life?"
He says "you did nothing to prevent the assault, you did nothing to assist in terms of helping Mr Reed when he was injured, you did not take steps to report anything to the authorities."
Court breaking for lunch and will resume at 1.40
Stuart and Benjamin discussed saying it was Lee who did it.
Q: did you have anything to do with Mr Reed's death?
He signs one letter "Henry Walter (suitcase assassin)" because that's the nickname he picked up in prison
Another letter: "I have got no one. Looks like no one cares that I'm in prison for something I didn't even do. This is my first ever offence and it looks like life."
In another: "we know that Lee done it. If any if your family asks me I will tell them Lee done it."
However, he now says he believes Lee played no part in Mr Reed's death
In another he writes to Stuart: "don't worry about what I told the Old Bill mate. I've got it sussed mate. It's no comment all the way mate. I ain't no grass."
Later he said "only one person could have murdered the ****** paedo and all three of us know who it was."
Letter from Benjamin to Stuart reads: "I'm just taking it day by day, waking up and knowing I'm innocent of the murder part of this." Later he talks about chance of getting "life" for murder.
Letter from Benjamin to Stuart reads: "I'm just taking it day by day, waking up and knowing I'm innocent of the murder part of this." Later he talks about chance of getting "life" for murder.
He started telling the truth in final interview because "I didn't want to go down for something I didn't even do."
Asking about letters written between Benjamin and Stuart.
The three have been in custody since their arrest.
Benjamin said he asked Stuart "how could you live with yourself after what you've done?"
Stuart replied: "easy- I just think of the children's lives he ruined."
Benjamin said he lied to police in early interviews "because he's the only one that's been there for me."
His adoptive family have not been to see him since his arrest for murder and none of his family are in the court Benjamin said
This was Thursday night. He stayed at the flat until Saturday night. During that time he didnt think about going to the police.
Benjamin says: "I saw Stuart as an older brother and I didn't want to be on my own again."
He said he felt deserted by his birth and adoptive parents and his brother
Daniel and Tiffany told Stuart to stop talking about it, Benjamin says. He says he looked pale and net it's because he'd heard how Mr Reed was killed. He had some weed and beer to "calm himself down."
When they returned to the flat, Benjamin said Daniel and Tiffany asked how Mr Reed got killed.
Benjamin said "Stuart said it took him eight minues. After five minutes he stopped struggling and then he put a screwdriver into his head."
They then went back to Stuart's nan's and had a cup of tea before being picked up by Stuart's dad and taken to Poole bus station.
Q: did you ever ask him (Stuart) why he's done it?
Yes, the following day I did yes
At Stuart's nan's farm, he reiterated that he needed to bury a dead dog and asked for tools to do that. The two then went off to the woods and buried the suitcase in a shallow grave.
Q: Did you help to do this?
i don't know, I just did
Q: did you feel loyal towards Stuart?
He said "I couldn't let a friend of mine get in that sort of trouble even after what he'd done"
Benjamin said they sat silently together. He says "I had never seen violence like that before except on tv."
He said he went along to bury Mr Reed's body because he was helping a friend in need, and added that he never considered running away
Stuart then called Kelly to tell her he wanted to bury a dead dog at his nan's house. Billie text Benjamin later to see if he was ok because "we says a dog got hit by a car and I got hit by the car also." Benjamin said this was Stuart's idea
When he came out of the bathroom he said the sofa was pulled out and there was a suitcase there. The suitcase was closed.
Q: Did you ask Stuart what was going on or what he had done or what he planned on doing?
When he returned to the flat through the bedroom window Mr Reed's body was still behind the sofa. He didn't see the body get put in the suitcase because he was in the bathroom.
He said he was worried he would "lose a friend and i'd be on my own again." He said he felt he had no one apart from Stuart
Benjamin left the flat dressed as Geoffrey in his coat, hat and trainers "to make it look like he'd gone to Weymouth."
He says this was Stuart's idea. He came back in through the bedroom window.
Q: why did you agree to go outside pretending to be Geoffrey? Why do that?
I just went along with what I was told just in case I had the same thing happen to me
Q: why didn't you carry on walking to the police station and tell the police what had just happened?
I had nowhere else to go and I saw Stuart as a family member.
He said he saw Stuart has a "brother"
Benjamin said Daniel was not in the room when Mr Reed was killed. Daniel left the flat that day with Benjamin's phone because he said "I had the number of drug dealers in my phone".
Daniel gave evidence to say he couldn't get out if the bedroom after hearing banging. Benjamin said he blocked the bedroom door from opening because "I didn't want them to see what I seen - a dead man."
However, he said Daniel had come out before, when the body was out under the bath
Q: Mr Reed was dead in the flat and being moved about. What were you thinking?
I don't know really I was just too scared to do anything
He says Lee unscrewed the bath panel to hide Mr Reed's body but other than that he did not see Lee do anything else. He added that Stuart moved Mr Reed's body to the bathroom on his own
Corrects himself - "the only one over him".
Defence for Benjamin now asking him about the injuries suffered by Mr Reed. The victim had "significant, crushing" injury to throat area, broken ribs, and a depressed fracture on his skull but Benjamin said he did not see any of those injuries inflicted.
Benjamin said he was "too scared" to talk to Stuart about the attack. "Mr Reed was dead and Stuart was the only one there" he said
We're taking a short break
Q: Were you responsible for any injury or damage to Geoffrey Reed?
He says Mr Reed looked "lifeless" and someone checked his pulse.
Q: do you recall where Lee was?
near the bathroom
Asked what he was thinking Benjamin says "****** hell - what's happened here?"
Then he heard a "final thud". He said "I gave it a couple of minutes and then I came out." He said he saw "Mr Reed on the floor with blood coming out of his ear."
Benjamin got the screwdriver. He says "I went along with what I'd been told to." He gave it to Lee and then gave Mr Reed another glass if water before going back to the bathroom
Benjamin said "There was a yellow screwdriver in Stuart's bag and he asked me to pass it to Lee"
He passed the glass to Stuart "over the top of Mr Reed".
Mr Reed was on the floor on his back "looking up to the ceiling".
Q: was he still alive?
yes - he was moving his head and his eyes were looking up as if he was dazed.
Stuart then asked Benjamin to get Mr Reed a glass of water, he says. "I was in the bathroom and I got asked to come out and give it to him"
Q: Did you see Lee?
yes - he was standing outside the bathroom.
Asked what he was thinking. He said "I was stunned basically- shocked." He said he only thought an assault was happening.
"I went back to the bathroom- locked it."
When he was there he heard more thudding
When he came out he could see the top of Stuart's right arm. But he said he couldn't see what was happening
He says the attack was "out of the blue" and said "I was shocked".
Q: did you hear anything else when you were in the toilet?
yes, more thuds
He adds: "for a couple of minutes it was just thumping noises and the floor was shaking. You could feel it vibrate"
Benjamin says he didnt see the punch - he heard it.
Q: what did you think if you thought anything?
i just thought it was an aassault
Q: Did it surprise you?
In a way it did.
He says he went straight into the bathroom because he was going to the toilet anyway and didn't see anything
Q:Did Stuart say anything to Geoffrey before he hit him?
Q: had you expected anything like that to happen?
Stuart says Mr reed had made a comment about his sister Billie that led to him knocking Mr Reed to the floor but Benjamin said this didn't happen.
Benjamin says "Stuart grabbed Mr Reed by the throat, locked the door and then hit him"
Mr Reed only took out £2.56. Benjamin contributed some money towards the cigarettes.
Q: We know you sent text message saying we're on the way back to Stuart's phone. Anything in that?
Benjamin said he just wanted Stuart to put the kettle on. When he got back Lee was in the flat with Stuart
After that they visited Aldi, went back to the flat, found ID for Mr Reed and went back. Defence asked why Benjamin went back too and he says "I felt I could give him a hand" because Mr Reed is such a "quiet person." Mr Reed told Benjamin how much he had in his account- just over £3.
The two went to Nationwide and Aldi together. Mr Reed wanted to withdraw money to buy cigarettes. Benjamin asked the cashier to withdraw the money because "Mr Reed is a quiet man" he said. But they were not allowed to take the money out because Mr agreed hadn't signed the back of his card and needed ID
Lee arrived during that morning on June 7. Mr Reed went to the Job Centre that morning, and a little later he and Benjamin went to the building society together
On June 6 Benjamin, Daniel, Stuart and Tiffany went out.
Benjamin said "we all went out to see my brother quickly and then we got some money, got weed, drink and had a nice time between all of us."
the next day, June 7, he woke up at around 9am
He said everything was normal leading up to June 7.
"It was really good - normal. How we were in the past" he said.
Asking about the days heading up to June 7 and Benjamin's relationship with Billie-Jo. He said he fancied her and thinks she liked him too but nothing ever happened.
He went to the library a lot before Mr reed's death to use Facebook.
Before the library chat, Benjamin, Stuart and Adam played darts with Billie-Jo Wareham and Lee Wareham.
Q: was anything discussed during the darts day about hurting or killing Geoff or anything of that nature?
During that time a "bet" was made.
Benjamin said "we were jokingly betting".
Stuart and Adam bet Benjamin £5 to kill Mr Read- he said this was all a joke
One day, Benjamin, Stuart and Adam were walking to Boscombe library. This was after they played darts together at the flat. Benjamin said Adam asked Stuart about Mr Reed.
"jokingly we all said we could kill him" he said. "Stuart said I could kill him, my brother said he could too, and I said there were times he ****ed me off so I could too." But he said "I'm not violent" and adds "I just took it as a joke- a bit of banter between three boys"
In March, Mr Reed was assaulted by Stuart. Benjamin wasn't there but Stuart told him about it. Benjamin said: "Stuart told me and then Mr Reed told me he was an ex sex offender." After assault "he kept himself to himself". He means Mr Reed and Stuart
Q: what drugs were you taking?
A: everything - cannabis, coke, crack, speed
He said he smoked cannabis every day
Bit more about the flat - eight dogs living there by the time Mr Reed died.
Q: did you get on with Mr Reed?
Benjamin said the only time he had problems with Stuart was when he told him that he fancied his sister Billie-Jo. "I wanted to go out with his sister. He didnt really like it."
Defence asks "why?"
Benjamin said "welll, because he likes me"
Benjamin said Stuart wanted it to happen again but it didn't.
Sleeping arrangements stayed the same until Mr Reed died. No one paid rent but everyone contributed towards the shopping, Benjamin said
"I was drunk and I was off my head on drugs" he said.
Benjamin said "we (Stuart and Benjamin) slept together one night". This was in May when Mr Reed was in hospital
Benjamin ended up living with in Cecil Road after being invited by Stuart and Mr Reed. When he moved in, he and Stuart slept on a double mattress on the floor, Mr Reed slept on the sofa and Daniel and Tiffany were in the bedroom
He came to live in Cecil Road after some time sofa surfing - staying at friend's houses
"I got told about it but I didn't believe it" Benjamin said about Mr Reed's convictions. "I didn't really care what he'd done in the past - the past is the past".
He said he met Mr Reed in the night shelter and they got on "really quite well". Defence asking about his past but Benjamin says he didnt know about that until March when he moved in. Benjamin said he was told by somebody else but Mr Reed also told him
Q: would you class yourself as a friend of Daniel Anderson?
Q: and of Tiffany Maidment?
Q: how does being in the witness box make you feel?
benjamin said he had never been in a court before. Now talking about Stuart - he said the two got on "really well". He said he got to know lee "a bit" through Stuart. He says he had only met Lee about four times before his arrest
Questions about Benjamin's twin Adam. The two were friends in Spain but went their separate ways when they got back to the Uk, Benjamin said. He has one caution for arson after allegedly setting fire to dustbins and the YMCA. Adam made a police witness statement about this.
Q: were you arrested for this?
Q: did you admit to the inspector you were responsible?
no other convictions or cautions for anything
He moved back from Spain with his mum, twin brother and sister in June 2011. The plan was to move to a Dave Wells property but Benjamin said he wanted 6 months of rent in advance and so he couldn't afford it. Benjamin has to move into a YMCA for six weeks while the rest of his family went back to Spain
Benjamin Walter says he was adopted at the age of six after his parents left. He has a twin brother, Adam, another brother and two sisters. When he was 14, the family moved to Spain for seven years
Currently running slightly late - we'll be getting going soon though
Good morning. Court starts at 10am today and we'll be hearing from murder accused Benjamin Henry Walter