A MAN charged with murdering a young father had no intention of causing him any harm.
That was the claim made as defending solicitors summed up their case in the murder trial of Richard Adam Reece, a 19-year-old from Oswestry accused of killing Danny Jones, from Chirk.
Defence barrister Rachel Brand urged the jury at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday to find her client not guilty, claiming there was no evidence to prove Reece deliberately stabbed 21-year-old Mr Jones.
Miss Brand told the court the evidence suggested Reece merely produced the weapon as ‘a warning or deterrent’.
When Reece first appeared with the weapon – a 30cm-blade ornamental sword – he did not come close enough to Mr Jones to use it and it was Mr Jones who approached Reece, she said.
“He wasn’t using any threats,” stressed Miss Brand.
She said Reece’s girlfriend Zoe Pallatina, who was the closest witness to the incident, described him as ‘looking really scared and lost’.
“That’s not someone with murderous intent,” she added.
She reminded the jury some witnesses claimed Reece had been waving the sword about ‘as if he was warning’ Mr Jones to stay away and highlighted claims Mr Jones had ‘jumped’ at Reece while he was holding the weapon.
Mr Jones, a trainee accountant, died of a single stab wound to the abdomen on April 24 after he and Reece got into a fight near Reece’s home in Lord Street, Oswestry, over a comment made by Reece about Mr Jones’ son.
Again referring to Miss Pallatina’s statement, Miss Brand told the jury ‘she did not see a lunge or a stab’ from Reece as other witnesses had claimed.
In fact, Miss Pallatina and her friend Ian Gill both described seeing Mr Jones stumble as he approached Reece seconds before he suffered the fatal injury.
Miss Brand acknowledged that pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt’s ‘preferred view was that Reece stabbed Mr Jones’.
“But his findings in this case don’t establish that,” she said.
And Reece’s decision to throw away the weapon as he fled the scene, she claimed, showed he was ‘afraid and panicked’.
“If he had murderous intent, wouldn’t it have been better to take that knife away from the scene?,” she said.
“Although he didn’t use the word accident (to his friends or the police after the incident) that was certainly what he was describing.”
In Thursday’s prosecution summing up, it was claimed Reece, by initially running away, was trying to buy time to figure out his story.
But Miss Brand said: “Ricky was actually thinking about hanging himself.”
In conclusion she told the jury: “You cannot find him guilty of murder or manslaughter unless you’re sure it was a deliberate act and we say it wasn’t.”
The jury are expected to go out to consider their verdict after the judge’s summing up this morning.