Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Off-Topic: Brian Farmer Murder Trial, Day 1
Today the trial of the people accused of killing Brian Farmer began. I intend to attend in person every day. I don't know if I'll write a report every day. It depends on whether anything significant is said. The trial is scheduled to last six weeks, but the judge mentioned today that it might continue into January.
The main news today is that all charges against John Campion have been dropped. The prosecution is satisfied that he was not present in Brian's flat on the date of the murder. The four people being charged are Lisa Clarke, Jason Andrews, Vaughan Davies and Peter Knowles.
The jury was selected yesterday, but two jurors had to be replaced today. One had to be removed because of a conflict of interests. The other asked to be relieved of his duties for personal reasons, which the judge allowed. The final jury is made up of one man and eleven women.
In the morning the prosecutor, Mr. Evans, presented his case. On May 14th 2012 Vaughan Davies, who lived in Leictershire, approached his social worker and told her he had witnessed an assault while visiting Birmingham. On May 5th he arrived in Birmingham and met Lisa Clarke at New Street Station. Together they travelled to Yardley, to the flat of a man he had never met before, Brian Farmer. Other people were already present. Vaughan claimed that an argument began, and Lisa hit Brian over the head with a stereo loudspeaker. After this she poured boiling water on him from a kettle. Vaughan got involved and punched Brian twice, then left. As he was leaving two black men arrived with a gun looking for Brian. After hearing this story the social worker encouraged him to speak to the police, which he did on the following day, but due to the inefficiency of the police communications between Birmingham and Leicestershire the police didn't visit Brian's flat until the evening of May 19th. When the police entered the flat they found Brian dead in a chair. He had seven broken ribs, multiple stab wounds, injuries to the head and cigarette burns.
With the help of Vaughan's statement the police were able to arrest the other three people who were in the flat. All four (including Vaughan) have pleaded not guilty, blaming each other for the murder. The prosecution intends to prove that all four are guilty. Even Vaughan Davies' testimony does not tell the whole truth. He claims to have visited Brian only once, but CCTV footage shows him going in and out of the building from May 5th until early morning on May 8th.
Those were the claims of the prosecutor, which will have to be proved during the trial. In the afternoon the first few witnesses were heard: two social workers, Vaughan's previous landlady, and the first Birmingham policeman who spoke to Vaughan. Written testimonies were read on matters relating to the case. From April 11th onwards there were various complaints from Brian's neighbours about Brian being visited by anti-social, abusive people. A representative from the council visited Brian on May 10th with a police escort, but he didn't answer the door, and no attempt was made to enter. On May 5th and 7th rubbish was found outside, which might have been thrown out of the window of Brian's flat.