A BRICKLAYER and former boxer overwhelmed a burglary victim with his physical power, a jury heard yesterday.
Prosecuting barrister Simon Medland told Mold Crown Court Alexandros Wetherill then tried to play down what he’d done to 65-year-old Glynis Solmaz and his evidence was a “damage limitation exercise” rather than the truth.
Wetherill, born in Greece but living in the UK since the age of three, denied the claims and said he had never had any intention of hurting her.
Mold Crown Court has heard prosecution claims Mrs Solmaz was killed in her Wrexham home to prevent her identifying the raiders.
Wetherill, 24, of Plas Gwyn, Wrexham and Christopher Curran, 34, of Broom Avenue, Brymbo, both deny murdering Mrs Solmaz in February. Wetherill has admitted manslaughter.
Wetherill spent much of yesterday in the witness box giving evidence in his own defence.
Questioned by his own barrister Stephen Riorden QC, he said he was not a burglar but had decided to burgle Mrs Solmaz home after being told about the plan by Curran.
At the time Wetherill said that he could not keep his head above water and was in debt.
The boiler had gone at his home and his partner and newly-born baby daughter had moved to her parents home and he wanted them back as a family.
He was told there would be £40,000 in the safe in the house in Bryn Hafod, Wrexham, and he expected a share of £10,000 or £15,000. But it turned out that there was £10,000 in it and he received £3,000.
Wetherill said that before he handed himself in to police, he used some of the money to pay bills and paid some into his baby’s bank account.
He also said he had spent £200 on a tattoo of his daughter’s hand print and foot print – but denied that was done with Mrs Solmaz’s money.
In police interviews, he initially claimed Mrs Solmaz startled him when she came into the bedroom – but then said she had answered the door and he grabbed her.
But in evidence to the jury, he said he knocked the door a couple of times, went in when there was no answer, but she then appeared and “caught me red-handed”.
He said he grabbed her and held her away from him so that she would not see him.
He said he wanted money, she said she did not have any, he said he knew there was money and then claimed she took him upstairs as he still held her.
But as he released his grip she grabbed a light shade and hit him with it and kicked at him, he said.
He panicked and tried to calm her down, and tightened his grip – and it was then he said she went limp and started to snore.
In evidence, he said he believed she had fainted or was temporarily unconscious, he had not seen any injuries or any blood and he lowered her on to the floor.
Wetherill said the injuries from which she later died had occurred before Curran came into the room.
When Curran entered the bedroom, Wetherill said he had his foot on Mrs Solmaz’s head so that if she woke up she could not turn and see him.
Wetherill said when he heard Mrs Solmaz had died days later, he turned white, broke down, felt sick and was shaking with emotion.
He said he decided to give himself up to police which he did on the Friday.
Questioned by Mr Riorden, he said he accepted he had caused the injuries which led to her death but insisted he had not intended to kill her or hurt her.
Asked how he felt about what he had done, he said “Absolutely ashamed. I am devastated. I still cannot believe the reality of what actually happened.”
Mr Medland told him he had overwhelmed Mrs Solmaz, who was no match for him.
“You didn’t panic. You pursued it in a most deliberate and intent way to achieve the end result, the money in the safe.
“You could not have cared less about Glynis Solmaz, as long as she behaved and did not get in the way.
“But she got in the way, you subdued her, you tightened her grip and you murdered her didn’t you.”
Wetherill denied the allegation.
Curran is expected to give evidence in his defence today.